Islamabad -  Pakistan has the potential to generate 10,000 megawatt geothermal based electricity which is cheaper, sustainable and cleaner source of energy.

In Gurgur, an area in Balochistan, there is a potential of generating 5,000MW of geothermal-generated electricity, while in the entire Pakistan the potential is 10,000MW, the Geological Survey of Pakistan (GSP) director general said while briefing National Assembly Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources.

Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources met under the chairmanship of Chaudhry Bilal Ahmad Virk, to discuss the budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and its attached departments for financial year 2017-18.

During the meeting, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan said that they don’t have PSDP allocations. While discussing the PSDP proposals of Geological Survey of Pakistan and Hydro Carbon Institute of Pakistan, the committee directed both the departments to review and bring their revised PSDP proposals before the committee in its next meeting to be held during next week. The committee observed that the PSDP proposals of the both the departments lacked necessary details.

While briefing the committee, the Geological Survey of Pakistan director general said that in the countries where there are no coal reserves they are using geothermal for the electricity generation. He said that US is generating 5,000MW from the geothermal source while Turkey is also generating electricity from geothermal. Pakistan can also control load shedding by focusing on geothermal based power generation, he added.

“To produce geothermal-generated electricity, wells - sometimes a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep or more - are drilled into underground reservoirs to tap steam and very hot water that drive turbines linked to electricity generators. The first geothermal generated electricity was produced in Larderello, Italy, in 1904 and currently geothermal energy is generated in over 20 countries,” he added.

He said that the total cost of Basha Dam is around $16 billion while geotharmal is not so much expensive energy. In Gurgur there is potential of generating 5000 MW geothermal energy and it will cost Rs991 billion. Besides, there is geothermal potential in Bhakkar and Zinda Pir area of Punjab.

He said, “We have nominated 50 sites for drilling and conducted drilling in 27 sites where we have discovered water resources. The water is hot on 500 Celsius which can be used for electricity generation.” He said that they required Rs140 million for 23 drilling.

The committee member asked that why they have chosen Gurgur for the electricity generation and how much electricity can be generated from the source. The Geological Survey of Pakistan director general informed that around 5,000MW electricity can be produced from the area.

Official of the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms said geothermal projects are over consideration but GSP should conduct study of the Gurgur and other potential geothermal power generation projects. Without feasibility study you would not be able to attract investor to these projects, the official added. “We have a lot of coal reserves but we don’t have the feasibility study, I will request GSP to conduct the feasibility study of these areas,” he maintained.

The DG further said that Quetta is facing severe water shortage and even the GSP office, in the area, don’t have drinking water. The GSP director general further said that there are vast resources of gas in Balochsitan, Sindh, AJK and Punjab. He asked the committee to help to initiate work for the exploration of the reserves.

The committee asked him that where the GSP wants to start the work first, the director general replied that they want to explore Chaman Lal first. The committee asked how much funds required for the Chamman Lal exploration, the director general replied Rs200 million are required for Chamman Lal exploration and for the entire Pakistan Rs480 million would be needed. The committee questioned the estimated cost and said that how Chamman Lal exploration, a single site, requires Rs200 million, while Rs480 million are estimated for exploration in the rest of the country.

The committee chairman directed to bring the feasibility report and estimated cost of the project in the next meeting.

While briefing the committee, the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan (HDIP) acting director general said that they required Rs570 million for two years. He said that there is a need to upgrade HDIP.

The meeting was attended by MNAs, Muhammad Afzal Khokhar, Rana Afzaal Hussain, Mian Tariq Mehmood, Rana Muhammad Ishaq Khan, Ch Khalid Javaid Warraich, Imran Khattak, Abdul Waseem, Sajid Ahmed, Shahjehan Muneer Mangrio and senior officers of the departments concerned.