Long Term Planning for Energy in Pakistan

By Khan, Arshad M.; Jalal, A. I. et al. | Economic Review, April 1993 | Go to article overview

Long Term Planning for Energy in Pakistan


Khan, Arshad M., Jalal, A. I., Mumtaz, A., Bashir, F., Economic Review


One of the most widely discussed topics at the 14th World Energy Congress held at Montreal, September, 1989, was the environmental degradation caused by energy production and utilization activities. Scientists, policy makers and politicians all showed deep concern about the critical environmental problems like global warming, acid rain, disposal of high level radioactive wastes, air pollution - especially that caused by automobiles - and the disposal of the increasingly vast amount of solid and liquid wastes. Since some of these problems are of global or regional nature, it was suggested that institutions for international cooperation should be evolved to deal with these problems. However, at national levels strong policy measures - market driven and, where necessary, regulatory - must be taken urgently to preserve the natural environment.

As the use of energy is increasing very rapidly in Pakistan due to increasing population, industrialisation and urbanisation, it is feared that this would result in rapid deterioration of the air quality, particularly in major urban centres where most of the energy conversion and utilization facilities are, and will be located. This paper looks at different scenarios of energy demand and supply in Pakistan extending over a period of next 20 years and analyses the corresponding atmospheric releases of pollutants. It is demonstrated that energy conservation coupled with greater emphasis on non-fossil fuel options could be of considerable help in preventing rapid degradation of the environment.

Energy Options and Their Environmental Aspects

Conventional sources of energy - coal, oil, gas, hydro power and nuclear - are expected to remain the main supply options for Pakistan, in the foreseeable future for sustaining the pace of socio-economic development. Technologies involving the use of solar, biomass, wind and other renewables are still in the development stage and, as such, their role in the next 1520 years is expected to remain marginal. In the following paragraphs, we briefly discuss the energy resource base of Pakistan and the environmental aspects associated with their development.

Energy Resources

(i) Coal: Although geological resources of coal in Pakistan are at present estimated to be around five billion tons (Ref. 1), proven and indicated reserves are only 0.3 billion tons and one billion tons respectively. Most of the coal found in Pakistan is lignite with high sulphur content. The present production level is about 4 million tons/yr. and about 90 per cent of it is being consumed by brick kiln industry. The government is now taking keen interest in promoting the use of indigenous coal in power generation and as industrial and household fuel.

ii) Oil and Gas: About 827,000 square kilometers are in Pakistan consists of sedimentary basins (onshore: 611,000 sq. km., offshore: 216,000 sq. km.). The recoverable oil and gas potential of this area has been estimated (Ref. 2) 36 - 53 billion barrels of oil (4,800 - 7,100 million TOE) and 140 - 143 TCF of gas (3,450 - 3,490 million TOE). The oil and gas reserves TABULAR DATA OMITTED TABULAR DATA OMITTED discovered so far correspond to less than 1 per cent of the estimated oil potential and about 15 per cent of the gas potential of the country. The relatively small sizes of oil and gas discoveries in relation to the estimated resource potential are probably due to inadequate exploratory effort. Only 4-5 exploratory wells/year were drilled during 1953-83 period. The exploratory effort was increased to about 15 wells/year during the 6th Plan period (1983-88) and is now envisaged (Ref. 3) to be 25 wells/year during the 7th Plan (1988-93). The present production (about 2.2 million tons/year) only meets about 30 per cent of the total oil requirements.

iii) Hydro Power: Hydro power potential of the identified sites in Pakistan is about 27,000 MW of which only 2,900 MW has been developed. This comprises Tarbela: 1750 MW. …

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