CLEAN ENERGY: Pakistan’s Largest LNG Terminal to Start in 2021

A terminal, as per international standard, takes almost two years to complete once its construction starts. Currently, two LNG terminals were operating at Port Qasim Karachi. Energas terminal would be the third clean energy source.

DESPARDES — Pakistan’s Energas plans to start the nation’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in 2021 to help meet soaring demand once it gets the green light to build the project.

It would be the third one once operational. Currently, two LNG terminals were operating at Port Qasim Karachi — the country’s financial hub and economic powerhouse.

Energas, a consortium that includes Yunus Brothers Group conglomerate and Sapphire Group — both are large domestic users — aims to begin construction of the $140 million to $160 million facility for clean energy source next year. The project is being supported by Exxon Mobil Corp.

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As compared to fossil fuel, LNG is cheaper and environment friendly.

As many as five private sector companies were planning to set up LNG terminals in the country, a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told PT.

Energas and Exxon venture is one of two that submitted bids in October for regulators’ permission to build terminals and tap demand that is expected to outgrow import capacity, according to Bloomberg.

“There is a lot of demand in Pakistan and it will just grow,” said Chief Executive Officer Anser Ahmed Khan in an interview.

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The demand is dictated by Pakistan’s growing need for cheaper and cleaner energy source in the shortest possible time as it makes efforts to exploit new dual-fuel-combined-cycle options in power plants installed under the CPEC.

All these have spurred the need for providing competitive space to locals also, said an expert.

The government’s footprint in coming years in the energy, as well as other sectors, was going to shrink, a senior official told Pakistan Today in November.

“We do believe the LNG is here to stay, but we have decided that this sector has to be completely opened up.”

Energas has received bids for a floating storage and regasification unit that will be connected to Port Qasim terminal in Karachi, and will award the contract by March, Khan said.

Tabeer Energy, a Mitsubishi Corp. unit had also applied to build an LNG terminal.

The two ventures are vying to tap into what’s expected to be one of the world’s bright spots for LNG imports, with purchases set to quadruple by 2040 amid stagnating domestic production and robust demand, BloombergNEF forecast last week in a report.

The consortium will compete with Tabeer and existing import plants for customers, including textile mills, power plants and compressed natural gas fuel stations, to make the terminal viable, Khan said. Exxon has agreed to support securing supply for the terminal.

“When we look at the Pakistani sector, we see demand only going up,” Khan said. “That’s why we feel there is enough slack for us to flow our gas into the system.

Spanish and French firms were also poised to establish LNG terminals in Pakistan.

A terminal, as per international standard, takes almost two years to complete once its construction starts.