KARACHI – The Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) will achieve the gross dependable generation capacity of 2052-megawatt, with the completion of the Bin Qasim Power Station-II that will produce 560-MW electricity. Nevertheless, the power utility’s request for the supply of (already-approved) 130-MMCFD additional gas quota for the new plant is still pending with the government - the main reason for the delay in the launch of the KESC’S optimum power production. The project, worth $450 million, will enhance the utility’s power generation capacity by 30 per cent.The KESC, on Monday, organised a detailed visit and briefing for a group of mediapersons at the BQPS-II. Generation and Transmission Chief Strategy Officer Arshad Zahidi informed the media that the combined cycle power project was almost ready to generate 560-megawatt with the execution of the project having entered its final phase. “But, it requires an uninterrupted supply of 130-MMCFD gas for its base load operation. The consistent gas pressure and calorific value are also very critical for operating the plant to its optimum level. However, he said, very low or sometimes zero gas pressure was being provided to the plant so far.Ghufran Atta Khan, the chief marketing and communication officer, supervised the media visit to the plant. Also present on the occasion were other top officials of the KESC, including Abbas Hussain, Syed Zubair Ahmed, Tahir Ali Khan and a representative of a Chinese company Harbin, who guided the media visit to the country’s largest under-construction power plant.The media team was briefed in detail over the need of regular supply of 130-MMCFD of natural gas to the plant which would make Bin Qasim Complex the largest thermal power station in the country. To a question, Zahidi said the KESC had not just adopted a single direction strategy regarding fuel resource of the project. “We are already executing our coal conversion project at BQPS-I. But the government committed and approved additional quota of 130 MMCFD natural gas for the BQPS-II and an immediate supply of this quota was essential to launch the project without delay,” he stated.Zahidi pointed out that in spite of the conditions in Pakistan, world lenders like the International Finance Commission and Asian Development Bank, also a local banks consortium, had trusted the performance and credibility of KESC and had released their long held-up loan facilities for the project. Zahidi said that at present, all three GE Frame-9 gas turbines bought from France – with the capacity of up to 120-MW each, water treatment facility, NG compressors and fire system of the new plant – had been commissioned and functioning satisfactorily. The 180-MW steam turbine from Harbin, China, had also been commissioned and was under testing, scheduled to be synchronised this month. Zahidi disclosed that the BQPS-II had black start capability to avoid system black out in the case of NTDC breakdown as experienced during July 2009. Three engines having capacity to produce two megawatts each have been dedicated to produce two-hour starting up electricity in case of a black out.Zahidi also briefed media persons on the overall enhancement of power generation and transformation capacity and upgrading of transmission network of the utility ever since the Abraaj Capital took over its management control in September 2008. While 1010 MWs have been added in KESC’s installed power generation capacity from January 2009 to March 2011 by construction of new power plants, the existing fleet efficiency has been improved by over 10 per cent through replacement of old machines with highly efficient machines, timely and digital annual maintenance and overhaul of Bin Qasim Power Station’s old units and by optimum dispatch of electricity.