Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Energy and Power has said that Pakistan plans to quadruple its domestic coal-fired power production capacity to reduce the cost of electricity consumption amid a global spike in gas prices.
Pakistan’s Energy Ministry has recently announced that the country will not set power plants run on liquid gas in the coming years, primarily due to a shortage of gas supply.
Currently, liquid gas makes up one-third of Pakistan’s power generation, the shortage of which has been widely experienced throughout the country over the past year.
Meanwhile, the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict which led to an increase in the global price of gas has forced Pakistan to face critical challenges in meeting the required gas.
Minister Dastgir Khan has told to Reuters that ‘liquid natural gas is not part of our agenda anymore’. He added that the country plans to increase the capacity of domestic coal-fired power production from 2.31 to 10 gigawatts.
Despite increasing electricity demand in 2022, liquid natural gas imports to Pakistan have reached their highest level in the last five years.
Currently, Pakistan is plagued with a major economic crisis, and the country’s currency has unprecedentedly depreciated against foreign currencies, the United States Dollar, in particular.
It is stated that Pakistan Central Bank’s asset reserves are worth $2.9 billion, which can hardly satisfy the country’s imports for a couple of weeks.
The country’s energy minister linked the ongoing economic downturn and depreciation of the Pakistani Rupee to geopolitical factors which came about due to the economic and political instability in the region and beyond.
Despite setting up coal power plants, Pakistan intends to strengthen its fleet of solar, hydro, and nuclear power stations to meet the required energy for day-to-day uses, Mr. Khan said.