Talks with Saudi Arabia underway to invest $4 bln in solar energy in Balochistan: Omar

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Power and Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan Monday said the $5 billion Khalifa Point oil refinery with potential of producing of 250,000 barrels oil per day would hit the ground in collaboration with Saudi Arabia by the end of current fiscal year.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of Economic Survey (2018-19) here, he said the government was also negotiating with Saudi Arabia to attract investment worth around $4 billion in solar energy in Balochistan province which would ensure provision of economical and reliable energy source to the masses.

The minister said the country’s power sector had the investment potential of over $80 billion huge investment in power sector would not only help the country reducing import bill but also reduce unemployment in the country.

He said the government had a plan to reduce the burden of expensive and imported energy sources by increasing share of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy.

“By 2025, the country will be producing 10,000 MW renewable energy while this share would further be increased to 18,000 MW by 2030,” he added.

He said the menace of circular debt also increased due to production of expensive imported energy sources and the government was taking special measures to gradually reduce the circular debts which had gone up to as high as Rs 800 billion to zero by the end of next year.

Omar Ayub informed that the government was also going to auction 40 more blocks by end of current year to explore the oil and gas reserves in the country.

During holy month of Ramazan, he said the power division ensured no load-shedding on 99.4% feeders while under special directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, same situation prevailed immediately after the month, during Eidul Fitre holidays.

He informed that in order to curtail line losses, as many as 30,000 First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against electricity thieves and around 4000 electricity thieves were apprehended during last few months.