PM chairs Cabinet Committee on Energy meeting
ISLAMABAD, Feb 12 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif chaired Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCE) meeting at the PM House here Thursday. In his opening remarks the Prime Minister said that power projects must be fast-tracked on top priority to provide relief to the people at the earliest. He said Pakistan is tapping all sources of energy to increase power generation at affordable rates. The Prime Minister directed the Committee that steps should be taken on immediate basis for early start of the 1680-km Turkmenistan-Afghanistan- Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline which would be immensely beneficial in providing energy security to the region. The Prime Minister was pleased to note that after his yesterday's meeting with Petroleum ministers of concerned countries it was agreed that timelines would be set for this project. He said that a timeline of power situation forecast for both short and long terms should be presented to the Committee and meticulously followed. The Committee gave approval for starting negotiations with Malaysia, China, Algeria, Nigeria, and Trinidad for import of LNG. Negotiations in this regard are already under way with Qatar. Further, it was decided that an improved mechanism would be devised for LNG payments on regular basis to avoid any complications in this regard. CCE also approved government-to-government negotiations with Russia, Qatar and China for the construction of North-South gas pipeline. This 42-inch pipeline will be laid along the new alignment of N-5. The Prime Minister was informed that negotiations are underway with Iran but due to international sanctions on the country, import of electricity from Iran would not be possible in the short term. CCE gave approval for official inclusion of Gwadar-Nawabshah gas pipeline into Early Harvest Program of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Ministers for Water and Power and Petroleum and Natural Resources briefed the Committee on setting up of 3600MW power generation plant based on Regassified LNG. The Committee was informed that LNG Terminal at Port Qasim would be completed next month. The Prime Minister directed that work on preparing feasibility studies and sorting out modalities should be completed as soon as possible. He directed both the ministries to give a detailed presentation in this regard next week. The Prime Minister gave in-principle approval for allocating funds in PSDP for financing of this project. Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) gave the meeting an overview of the Energy Active Portfolio and briefed about the generic issues causing delays in utilization of funds. The Prime Minister took notice of the un-utilized funds relating to generation, transmission and distribution projects and directed EAD and relevant ministries to expedite the foreign funded projects. Federal Minister for Finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar; Federal Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif; Federal Minister for Petroleum, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi; Federal Minster for Planning & Development, Ahsan Iqbal; Federal Minster for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique; Chief Minister Punjab, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif; Minister of State for Water and Power, Abid Sher Ali and Chairman WAPDA attended the meeting along with other senior government officials.
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