Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA Organizes First Ever Coal Forum in Houston
Speakers and participants in the first ever Coal Forum organized by the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA in Houston
Houston , TX: Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA (PCC-USA), the leading trade organization of Pakistani-American businessmen, organized the first ever coal forum in Houston in November to attract investments in the coal sector of Pakistan.
In his welcome address, Mr Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi, President of the Chamber, stressed the need to use indigenous resources to bridge the supply-demand gap in electricity generation He insisted that clean coal technologies are now available to use coal for power generation. He requested the government of Pakistan to put bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations on fast track to attract more direct investment from US investors.
Keynote speaker Ambassador Hussain Haqqani thanked PCC-USA for organizing the first coal forum. He informed the audience that the PPP government realizes that coal is the most viable energy source for Pakistan . To realize the full potential of coal the government has so far awarded four blocks to foreign investors. He also agreed with the PCC-USA position that BIT should be negotiated on fast track.
Mr Ajaz Ali Khan, Managing Director of Thar Coal and Energy Board, made an extensive presentation on the Thar coal deposits and the efforts made by the government to tap them quickly. He provided insight into the volume of deposits that are estimated to be 187 billion tones. He briefed the audience on the blocks that have been already awarded to foreign investors and the blocks that will be offered for auction in the coming months. He encouraged US investors to participate in the bidding process so that they become active participants. He informed that the incentives offered by Thar Coal Board include repatriation of profits in dollars and a minimum return of 20% on investment in dollar terms.
Khalid Mansoor, CEO, Sindh Engro Coal Mining, briefed the audience about the long-term view of Engro in investing in coal-fired power plants. He said that the ten-
Year scenario indicates that without using coal as feedstock for power generation it may not be possible to finance the circular debt resulting from imported fuel. He said that Engro has partnered with Government of Sindh to create a mining company that will provide coal to a 1200 MW power plant built by Engro power. He said that the project would cost over 12 billion dollars for which environmental studies have been submitted to the World Bank. He encouraged the US Coal Technology companies to come forward and support Pakistan’s coal initiative.
During the conference presentations were made by Trevor Bailey, General Manager, Steam Products, GE and Jim Powers, VP Coal Gasification, WorleyParsons. In response to a question, Mr. Bailey appreciated the efforts of PCC-USA and agreed to provide support to explore the establishment of a Coal Research Institute in Thar. Mr. Ajaz Ali Khan requested PCC-USA to work as a bridge between the US and Pakistani companies to form joint ventures and alliances.
At the end of the program President of Pakistan Chamber Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi announced that the forum marks the beginning of a long developmental march. The next milestone on this path is to form a delegation to visit Thar during early next year.
The Coal Committee of PCC-USA comprises Chairman Waseem Rahim; Zafar Mansuri, member; Asif Ehsan, member; Rashid Khokhar, member: Awais Shaikh, member and Saeed Shaikh, member. Among those present in the Forum were Consul General of Turkey in Houston Akil Oktem, Consul General of Pakistan in Houston Muhammad Aqil Nadeem, President of Turkish Chamber Celil Yakta, former US Ambassador to Qatar Chase Untermeyer and many others.