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Showing posts from July, 2013

Shale Revolution's Impact on Saudi Wealth and Power

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The rise of the West was driven by the Industrial Revolution beginning in the 18th century. It has since been fueled by fossil fuels--initially coal and later with oil and gas. Coal was indigenous in Britain and America but it is highly polluting and left much of London and New York with a thick coat of soot on everything in sight. Oil burns relatively cleaner but much of it is in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf region. First Britain and then United States saw the significance of the region and sought to control its energy resource through dictatorial puppet regimes, many of which still survive with active support of the Western powers.

Recent US EIA report on vast shale oil and gas reserves (over a trillion barrels) in many countries, including Pakistan (9.1 billion barrels of oil and 105 trillion cubic feet of gas), has prompted a warning to Saudi government from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. While the Prince's warning is about economic impact, I see much br…

Tackling Increasing Power Theft in Pakistan

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"Do your fasting, pay zakat (charitable donations) and serve your parents, but do these things by the light of legal electricity." Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO)
Peshawar's electric utility has published full page advertisements in major Peshawar newspapers to appeal to its customers' religiosity in the holy month of Ramadan to stop stealing electricity and pay their bills.

According to news reports, PESCO ads exhort the local power consumers to do the right thing by citing religious edicts as follows: "Clerics have ruled that doing good deeds by the light of stolen electricity is against sharia, so let us stop using stolen electricity and beautify our day of judgement."

A combination of deadbeats and power thieves brazenly flout the law by not paying for electricity they use. Many of them are often politically powerful or connected to political bosses who protect them from the law. Some even shamelessly assert their right to steal electricity an…

Pakistan Hits Major Milestone With Tight Gas Production

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First tight gas well  producing 15 million cubic feet per day of natural gas is on line at Sajawal gas field in Kirthar block in Sindh province, according to a report in Express Tribune. This marks a major milestone in development of unconventional hydrocarbon energy sources in Pakistan. Sajawal gas field is located 110 km south east of Karachi, Pakistan. It puts Pakistan in an exclusive club of just a few nations producing unconventional natural gas.


The tight gas well in Kirthar belt is being operated jointly by Poland's Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).

The state-owned Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is buying gas from the joint venture at $6 per million BTUs (half the price agreed for Iranian gas) for distribution through its network in southern Pakistan. SSGC is laying a 52-kilometre-long pipeline at an estimated cost of Rs 325 million, carrying gas from the Suleman Range to the Nooriabad industrial estate.

First tight gas p…

Energy-Rich Pakistan Can End IMF Bailouts and Power Blackouts

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Frequent IMF bailouts and power blackouts in energy-rich Pakistan are closely tied. One of the key reasons for recurring balance-of-payment crises is the country's rapidly rising oil import bill. The lack of sufficient fuel exacerbates load shedding, negatively impacts economy, reduces tax revenue growth and worsens current account and budget deficits. This requires repeated injections of IMF loans in US dollars to meet import requirements and deal with budget shortfalls.



Pakistan's Untapped Energy Riches:

1. Shale Oil:

A recent US EIA report released in June 2013 estimates Pakistan's total shale oil  reserves at 227 billion barrels of which 9.1 billion barrels are technically recoverable with today's technology. In fact, US EIA (Energy Information Administration) puts Pakistan among the top ten countries by recoverable shale oil reserves. These include Russia (75 billion barrels), United States (58 billion barrels), China (32 billion barrels), Argentina (27 billion ba…