LAHORE - A ceremony regarding signing of memorandum of understanding between federal and Punjab government, China National Power and Q Investment Qatar for more than 6600 megawatt coal-based projects worth more than $5 billion was held here on Thursday.

Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Provincial Ministers, various federal and provincial secretaries as well as senior officers concerned were present. Federal Secretary Water & Power Saifullah Chatha, Secretary Energy Punjab Usman Bajwa, Chief Executive Officer of Q Investment Qatar Tamim Hamad Al Kuwari and President Middle East of China National Power Company Wu Wenhao signed the document. Under the tripartite agreement, ten plants of 660 megawatt each will be set up at Gadani. The projects of 3000 megawatt will be completed within first 30 months while the remaining projects of 3600 megawatt will be executed in the next two and a half years.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that this agreement between Pakistan, Qatar and China will prove to be a milestone in energy sector and all out efforts will be made for the early completion of this project of power generation from imported coal. He said that China is a close friend of Pakistan while Qatar is a brotherly Islamic country. He said that China is already extending cooperation in various projects of generation of power while Q Investment Company of Qatar which is an Islamic investment bank will make investment of billions of dollars in the energy projects. The Chief Minister said that China Power Company has expertise in generation of electricity from coal and has worked a lot on several such projects in India and other countries. Shahbaz Sharif said that he is thankful to Qatar government, royal family, Q investment and the people for making heavy investment in energy projects. He also expressed gratitude to Federal Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, concerned ministry, Energy Department Punjab and Punjab Investment Board for their efforts towards signing of this agreement. In reply to a question, Shahbaz Sharif said that work is in progress on Thar coal project, however, time is required for mining and installation of plant. He said that side by side the project of power generation from coal with the cooperation of China and Qatar, work will continue on Thar coal project. The Chief Minister said that for the purpose of progress on the memorandum of understanding regarding power generation, an agreement will soon be signed. He said that this agreement of generation of 6660 megawatt electricity is very important for energy sector and reflects the close friendly ties of Pakistan with China and Qatar. He said that imported coal will be used for these projects to be established in Gadani and after the agreements, all projects will be completed during five years. He said that these projects will promote brotherly as well as trade relations.

Shahbaz Sharif said that all possible measures will be taken for the early implementation of the project so that energy crisis could be resolved within shortest possible time. He said that the government will provide infrastructure for the implementation of these agreements while all investment will be made by Q investment.

Replying to a question, Federal Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that Bhasha Dam Project is not being abandoned. He said that a sum of Rs 21 billion have been spent on this project while Rs 12 billion have been allocated for this project during current fiscal year. Replying to another question, he said that the closed power plants of 400 megawatt will soon be made operational and negotiations are continuing in this regard. He said that federal government is making all out efforts under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for resolving energy crisis.

Meanwhile, a signing ceremony of two memorandum of understanding between University of Engineering & Technology Lahore, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion and Chinese Academy of Sciences China was held here today. Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Vice Chancellor UET Lahore, Muhammad Akram, Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad Dr. Iqrar Ahmed Khan, Secretary Agriculture, Secretary Energy and senior officials of Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion and Chinese Academy of Sciences China were also present on the occasion.

President Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion and Chinese Academy of Sciences China Chuang Zhi Wu, Vice Chancellor UET Muhammad Akram and Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad Iqrar Ahmed Khan signed the documents. Under the agreement the Chinese Institute and UET Lahore will conduct joint research for generation of power from solid waste, biomass, and biogas as well as promotion of bio fuel, solar energy and geo thermal technology. The two institutions will also exchange the delegation of students associated with energy sector as well as specialist teachers in this sector for benefiting from their knowledge and skill. Under the agreement between Chinese Institute and University of Agriculture Faisalabad both the institutions will cooperate in energy conversion, generation of power from alternative sources, biogas production as well as research in these sectors. The Chief Minister welcomed the agreements with Chinese Institute and said that the cooperation of Chinese Institute in energy sector will help in research as well as generation of electricity from alternative sources.