Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/03/2013 -- BMI View: In spite of chronic and persistent power shortages, reflecting under-investment and system inefficiencies, Pakistan has a plethora of potentially varied and rich power options from which to choose. There is vast untapped hydro and renewables capacity available, but it remains to be seen if the investment will actually materialise. Thus, this is likely to increases the country's reliance on growing its gas-fired, coal-fuelled capacity, as well as its modest nuclear programme, although controversial import deals with Iran could cause political backlash. While these opportunities exist for the thermal generation, delays in payments by state-owned transmission companies to independent power producers limit the profitability of the sector, and could cap its growth.
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The country continues to suffer from a shortfall of electricity of more than 3 gigawatts (GW) daily, and while this has fallen from the highs of 7GW, permanent resolutions and solutions to the situation remain out of sight. While the shortfall is caused by poor performance from existing generating assets, the lack investment in generating capacity, and an inefficient grid, the government also faces difficulty in sustaining subsidies. This, in turn, drains the profitability of power generation companies, forcing them to cut back on much-needed investment in the sector.
The key trends and recent developments in the Pakistani electricity market include:
- The constructions of the various dams have met with increasing environmental concerns and financing issues, which threaten to stall works. In particular, the World Bank and other international aid agencies have withdrawn their support for the Diamer-Basha dam project due to environmental concerns raised by India. Given the growing demand for electricity, a delay in the completion or cancellation of the project could mean ,the electricity shortfall is likely to persist beyond the government's original timeline.
- Progress of talks between India and Pakistan regarding the sale of electricity and petrol remains slow, with Indian officials citing their Pakistani counterparts keeping a cautious stance. While several suggestions have been raised during the talks, including building of a pipeline directly to Lahore, the Pakistan government remains wary of issues such as security and dependability of oil imports from India. However, worsening energy shortage in Pakistan may push Pakistani authorities to push ahead with negotiations, although imports from India are unlikely to exceed supplies from Kuwait.
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