The Express Tribune
Published Date: May 23, 2014
Energy crisis: Regional countries urged to employ integrated solutions
Experts have urged regional countries to employ integrated solutions to overcome the energy crisis in the region.
At a day-long dialogue on “Trans Boundary Cooperation in Energy
Sector” organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
in cooperation with CUTS International and FES, India, the speakers
stressed the need for a collective political will to invest in the
They said there was a dire need to exploit non-conventional sources
of energy to strengthen weak regional connectivity and boost trade and
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Chairman Saeed Ahmed Khan
said that with new governments in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, the
leadership should adopt a collective political approach to bridge the
demand in South Asia by engaging Central Asian countries.
“There is a need to cooperate on a mutual basis,” said Khan.
Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan said that the
present government was focused on trade, investment and connectivity for
better regional cooperation and integration.
He said that Pakistan was facing security issues particularly in the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan
border that might hinder energy projects such as the “KASA 1000
Project”. He said, however, that the TAPI Project between Pakistan and
India was still under consideration. “Much of the energy trade depends
on diplomatic goodwill,” he said.
ITC Logistics Executive Director Mohsin Khalid said the TAPI project
should not be the immediate goal of the government and instead it should
involve businesses in transporting energy to meet immediate needs.
He said the power grid networks of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan may be used for the energy exchange.
Asian Development Bank Country Director Werner Leipach said that
location of power stations and grid systems were being devised keeping
in view the demography of a country.
He said that the private sector was ready to invest in Pakistan, but the government should focus on the security aspect.
CUTS India Deputy Executive Bipul Chatterjee said that while the
political dynamics in both countries have changed, the business
community, while expressing interest in more trade, was skeptical of
investment in the energy sector.
Chatterjee said both countries must review reforms in their
respective regulatory bodies and their capacity building must be
addressed. He said that non-conventional sources of energy including
wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, coal and biogas should be tapped to meet
the energy requirements.
“We need to see the market as regionally integrated market in South
Asia,” he said, adding that “We should look at energy as regional public
good and policy harmonisation is needed for a regional energy policy.”
Research Centre for Chinese and Central Asian Studies, Kazakhstan
Deputy Director Farkhod Aminjonov said that South Asia, as a potential
customer, looks towards Central Asia as energy producer and trade
partner. “South Asia is very interested in electricity and potential
Central Asian countries can provide it.”
Attock Oil Refineries Chief Adil Khattak said that two to three per
cent of South Asia’s GDP goes to energy sector and there was a need for
regional trade of energy to spur the economic growth.
SDPI Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed stressed the need to
bridge the gap between the government, civil society and business
community. “The business community in the whole region is on the same
page and now is the time to materialise the dreams.”