OICCI and Shell Pakistan’s Energy Symposium, leading experts convene in Islamabad

ISLAMABAD   -   Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), and Shell Pakistan Limited jointly hosted the Pakistan Energy Symposium. Organized by the Nutshell Group, the significant event took place at a local hotel of federal capital on Wednesday.

The Pakistan Energy Symposium - ‘Powering the Future’ brought together public stakeholders, policymakers, thought leaders, and industry specialists, to chart out a course for Pakistan’s sustainable energy future. 

Federal Minister for Petroleum & Water Resources, Senator Dr. Musadik Malik deliberating on adding renewables to Pakistan’s energy mix said, “Pakistan has sunlight, wind, water, and nuclear energy. We can produce green electricity on a large scale. In 2018, when the strategy was being made, solar energy was 22 cents and wind energy was 23 cents, which has now been reduced to 3 to 5 cents. Pakistan can produce energy using a hybrid system. Battery technology is improving, and if that happens, we can generate electricity from sun, wind, and water.”

In his welcome address, President and CEO, Standard Chartered Pakistan & President, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), Rehan Shaikh highlighted that Pakistan is at a pivotal juncture in its journey towards energy sustainability. He shared that, energy security and self-sufficiency were the fundamentals of progress and prosperity for any nation. While Pakistan’s power sector has faced issues like circular debt, demand & supply gaps, and rising costs and tariffs, there was huge potential to change the course. With over 300 sunny days in a year, vast wind corridors in Sindh and Baluchistan, and abundant hydropower in the North, Pakistan must capitalize on these green energy resources and move to a sustainable energy mix.” 

In his opening address, CEO & Managing Director, Shell Pakistan Limited, Waqar Siddiqui stressed urgent action to achieve sustainability. “Pakistan is at a critical economic juncture, and to steer the country on a sustainable trajectory, resolving the energy puzzle is of utmost importance. There is tremendous opportunity for growth in the energy sector of the world’s 5th most populous country, with sizable potential for investment. What we propose are partnerships and solutions that seek to shape the energy future of Pakistan.”

Director & CEO, Nutshell Group, Rabia Shoaib Ahmad stated that by fostering innovation and leveraging partnerships, we can pave the way for a resilient and energy-efficient Pakistan. In her remarks, she said, “To help highlight the issues of the investors, to create an enabling environment, and to help promote a healthy investment climate for foreign investors in Pakistan, Nutshell Group has been working with the OICCI for over a decade. Nutshell Group is known for curating dialogues on critical sectors of the economy and bringing together multiple stakeholders under one roof, providing platforms for collective thought, value-adding debate, and devising result-oriented, actionable solutions.”

During his address at the Pakistan Energy Symposium, CEO, K-Electric, Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi highlighted the numerous opportunities in Pakistan’s energy sector. He said, “While Pakistan has competitively low energy purchase prices, we still face significant challenges such as high-capacity charges and circular debt, unlike other countries. The strategic shift towards utilizing our abundant coal reserves and transitioning to indigenous resources will result in reduced energy costs and enhanced self-sufficiency. Notably, K-Electric’s zero contribution to the circular debt highlights the importance of privatization and thus sets a roadmap for other distribution companies to follow.”

Moonis also discussed K-Electric’s renewable energy initiatives, adding, “We remain committed to achieving the vision of increasing our share of renewables to 30% in KE’s energy mix by 2030. We are garnering significant interest from foreign and local investors on our renewable energy projects which are part of our long-term Power Acquisition Program. This is very encouraging for K-Electric as well as for the power sector of Pakistan at large.”

Secretary General, Oil Companies Advisory Council, Dr. Nazir Abbas Zaidi recommending possible solutions for the structural issues to unleash the possibilities of the power sector said, “Implement rules to curb the inflow of smuggled products, close approximately 2,500 illegal retail outlets immediately, roll out new explosives rules and remove non-aligned rules/standards between OGRA and Department of Explosives. Oil Marketing Companies should have their licenses extended by OGRA for 30 years as per initial application, the building of strategic stocks to ensure energy security, fast-tracking infrastructure upgradation around oil storage areas, and one window solution for all required regulatory approvals.” 

Mazhar Hasnani, CEO of Engro Vopak & Elengy Terminals, shared recommendations on how LNG can fuel Pakistan’s economic progress. He stated, “LNG can play a critical role towards ensuring the energy security of Pakistan. Expanding LNG infrastructure, deregulating the market, curbing gas circular debt, and establishing new LNG terminals are some immediate steps that can bridge the current supply-demand gap. For a more long-term solution, there is a need to establish strategic onshore LNG terminals, and improve pipeline capacity issues through new pipeline development.”

The session titled Unlocking the Opportunities in the Oil & Gas Sector was moderated by Faisal Iftikhar, Head of Supply Operations, Shell Pakistan Limited and included Masroor Khan, Chairman, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA); Ahmed Zahid Zaheer, Country Chairman & General Manager, Chevron Pakistan Lubricants (Private) Limited; Adil Khattak, CEO, Attock Refinery Limited; Habib Haider, Director Corporate Relations, Shell Pakistan Limited; Asrar Muhammad, VP, Finance and Commercial, United Energy Pakistan Limited, as the esteemed panelists. Referring to Pakistan’s vast untapped reserves of oil and gas, particularly in the Indus Basin and offshore areas, the discussants concurred on the need for significantly increased investment in exploration and production activities. Enhancing exploration activities can reduce the country’s reliance on imported energy, which currently leads to a substantial trade imbalance.

The session on, Unearthing the Potential of Pakistan’s Power Sector, was moderated by Palwasha Ahsan Riar, Head of Learning, Asia Pacific, Shell Pakistan Limited. The panelists comprised Aftab Mahmood Butt, CEO, Kot Addu Power Company Limited; Ruhail Muhammad, CEO, Lucky Electric Power Company; Ali Khizar, Head of Research, Business Recorder; Amir Iqbal, CEO, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company; and Dr. Khalid Waleed, Head of Energy and Climate at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute. The panelists concurred on the criticality of expanding renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind into the energy mix. Referring to the ambitious 30/30 plan that entailed increasing the share of renewables in the electricity generation mix to 30% by 2030- equivalent to around 24,000 megawatts, the experts highlighted its multiple benefits, including lower electricity costs, enhanced energy security, reduced carbon emissions, and significant economic savings.

In his vote of thanks, Secretary General, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), M Abdul Aleem said, “As we conclude the Pakistan Energy Symposium - ‘Powering the Future’, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all participants, stakeholders, policymakers, and industry experts for their invaluable contributions. Together, we have laid the foundation for a discourse on a sustainable energy future in Pakistan, driving innovation, collaboration, and progress. Let us continue to work hand in hand to harness the power of renewable energy, technology, and policy to shape a brighter tomorrow for generations to come. Thank you for your unwavering commitment and support.”

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