Government has allocated Block V in the Thar for the project . The coal reserves in block V are 1.34 billion tons and it represents less than 1 percent of the entire coal field. In this block it is possible to produce 10,000 MW of electricity for 30 years. An additional 100 million barrels of diesel can also be produced.
Pakistan is facing acute power shortage and the utilization of indigenous Thar coal currently seems the only viable answer to the perennial problem. The electricity generated through the process would be available at $16 per megawatt as compared to $77 MW and $69 MW generated through Integrated Gas Combined Cycle and Natural Gas Combine Cycle respectively. The power generated through the Thar coal gasification process would cost only 6 rupees per unit.
Surveys conducted by Pakistani and Chinese experts suggest that a total of 175 billion tons of coal reserves are in Thar Coal field. Total reserve is equivalent to 175 billion tone of oil or 350 trillion cubic meteres of coal gas, more than combine oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arabia and 42 times greater than total gas reserves discovered in Pakistan so far.
It is pertinent to note that the this project is not unique in its nature many countries in the world are producing gas through UCG process by utilizing “black gold”. Total world power generation via coal is 41.61 percent while Pakistan’s neighbor India produces 53.3 percent of its total power by utilizing coal. Pakistan generates only 2.27 percent of power through coal while share of oil based power generation is 55.47 percent of total production. Following persistent prolonged load shedding people are on the streets to protest. It would be unwise to windup such development projects which have the potential to fulfill country’s long term energy needs.