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Construction of Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh)–Defeat of RAW and MQM

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In 2005, Ex COAS and then President of Pakistan announced various mega projects in the country including Gwadar City, Gwadar deep sea port, Makran Costal Highway, Quetta Water Supply, Tangi Wali Dam and Lwari Tunnel. He was also about to announce the inauguration of Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) when RAW and NDS maneuvered through their proxies in Pakistan. Primarily, Altaf Hussain(MQM) who through a phone call threatened President of Pakistan of dire consequences if Pakistan dam (Kalabagh) was announced.  As a matter of fact India/RAW became terrified by construction of Pakistan Damsas on one hand Pakistan has became Atomic Power, Mineral rich country and on the other hand the Water Management by construction of dams would have generated Economic Activity in the county. Hence a conspiracy was hatched by RAW/NDS to create disenchantment / friction between the provinces through their Pakistan based proxies in a bid to create hindrance/ impediments by supporting Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF) and other terrorist organizations.

Due to their conspiracy, Water scarcity is currently the biggest issue of Pakistan. At present, the country is storing 10% of its annual water flow that is comparatively very low to the global water storage capacity rate of 40%. Therefore, building new water storage reservoirs is the dire need of the hour, otherwise country could approach absolute water scarcity by 2025.

At present, Pakistan can store 30 days of water that is very low compared India that can store water of 170 days, that’s why Pakistan is being ranked among fifteen countries facing very high water stress. According to Indus River System Authority (IRSA), Pakistan is dumping freshwater having an economic value of $21 billion into sea annually due to low storage capacity. There is a marked decrease in per capita water availability of Pakistan due to alarming population increase and reduction in water storage capability of its reservoirs by sedimentation. The gap between water availability and demand was only 4% in 2011 and it is predicted to increase to 31% by 2025, which needs coordinated planning and implementation by all provincial and federal government authorities. There is an urgent need of proper water management to store maximum untapped water by constructing new water storage reservoirs.

Proposed Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) water storage with gross storage of 7.9 Million acre-feet(MAF) and live storage of 6.1 MAF. It would be 260 Ft high above the river Indus bed. It would cost US$ 7.923 Billion. Its installed capacity will be 3600 MW. Dam Siteiseasilyaccessibleandwellconnectedfortransportationofconstruction material through road and Rail Link. Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) is expected to significantly reduce electricity shortage and will enhance water availability for agriculture. This project will improve agricultural and livestock productivity which will livelihood conditions and reduce poverty.

Pakistan will earn economic benefits of billions of dollars from Pakistan Dam annually due to increasing cultivable area, production of cheap hydel electricity and saving spending on costly energy being produced by diesel/gas, this gas will now be available for industries and household use, and avoiding annual flood losses by River Indus. Politicization of this project has put it in cold storage for three decades. Pakistan has not built major water storage dam after 1974 that has stressed its already declining water resources. Furthermore India is building dams on River Jhelum and Chenab violating Indus Water treaty and Afghanistan is already building a dam on River Kabul which is tributary of River Indus and joins it upstream of Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) site. All these factors are complexing the dilemma of water scarcity of Pakistan.

Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) is technically feasible and financially viable project. Its feasibility was approved long time ago addressing concerns of all provinces. Lack of consensus among different provinces of Pakistan is a major hurdle in this project execution. KPK opposed the project by saying that Nowshera city will be submerged after dam construction. Tarbela dam that was constructed 42 years ago and is 600 ft above the Peshawar valley has not caused water logging problem in last four decades, then how it is possible that Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) which will be constructed 25 ft below Nowshera city, could cause water logging. No engineering knowledge is needed to understand that water logging only occurs in areas present below the water line and not above it. According to experts, the even top water level of Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) would remain lower to Nowshera. In addition, Kalabagh consultants rejected construction of irrigation canals along this dam for technical reasons. So this dam motive is not to divert water for Punjab, but in real Chashma Right Bank Lift Canal (CRBC) Project is now functional through which KP is taking its water share from Indus River. So objections have no factual basis. About 8 lakh acres of DI khan arable land that currently laying at highest from Indus River would be under economical cultivation due to the construction of this dam. So this project increases agricultural productivity of KPK too.

Sindh province object Kalabaghdam project that Sailaba (riverine) land will not get water after this dam construction that will not only decrease agricultural productivity but also dry Sindh province. In reality,the issue of riverine lands was taken into consideration by Wapda during this dam feasibility study and it was fully aware of the water needs of farmers of this area. That’s why, water requirements of this tract were calculated in consultation with Sindh Government. Kalabagh consultants conducted in-depth studies about water issues of riverine land that ended in the submission of concrete findings in 1988 that was also sent to Sindh Government. Their conclusion shows that riverine tract water requirements could easily be full filed even with the flood of 300,000 cusecs. So it depicted that this objection has no technical background and it is fiction. Furthermore this objection seems baseless because if Basha dam on River Indus would not cause flow reduction than how it is possible that Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) (that is only Storage dam) will reduce water flow downward. Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) is expected to provide an additional 40 lac acre-feet of water to Sindh, so its construction will help to uplift economic conditions of Sindh farmers.

In reality British government has given this right to Sindh government in 1929 and it is using it continuously but this propaganda is being easily accepted by simple farmers from Sindh due to fear of Water reduction and they reject water flow data provided from Upstream Punjab monitoring points.

Evidently, Pakistan Dam (Kalabagh) is technically viable and concerns of Sindh and KPK has already been addressed in its feasibility study so it is necessary to build it as soon as possible. It is the multi-purpose dam that will help to solve issues of water crisis/scarcity, power load shedding and annual flood damages. But it requires strong political will and pushes from the whole nation. Agriculture sector which is the backbone of Pakistan economy and it contributing about 20% of the country GDP and providing employment to 42% labour force will boost from Pakistan dam project. There is a need to formulate a national water strategy for water resource development and management, increase the storage capacity of existing water storage reservoirs and construct viable storage dams like Kalabagh. These steps will not only reduce water scarce conditions in the country but will also secure a safe and brighter future of our next generations. Hence the Pakistan dam (Kalabagh) be announced forth-with so that RAW and its proxies are defeated once for all.

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Energy

Driving a Smarter Future

MD Staff

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Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle.

With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle.

With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

Advanced forms of smart charging

An advanced smart charging approach, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), allows EVs not to just withdraw electricity from the grid, but to also inject electricity back to the grid. V2G technology may create a business case for car owners, via aggregators (PDF), to provide ancillary services to the grid. However, to be attractive for car owners, smart charging must satisfy the mobility needs, meaning cars should be charged when needed, at the lowest cost, and owners should possibly be remunerated for providing services to the grid. Policy instruments, such as rebates for the installation of smart charging points as well as time-of-use tariffs (PDF), may incentivise a wide deployment of smart charging.

“We’ve seen this tested in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark,” Boshell says. “For example, since 2016, Nissan, Enel and Nuvve have partnered and worked on an energy management solution that allows vehicle owners and energy users to operate as individual energy hubs. Their two pilot projects in Denmark and the UK have allowed owners of Nissan EVs to earn money by sending power to the grid through Enel’s bidirectional chargers.”

Perfect solution?

While EVs have a lot to offer towards accelerating variable renewable energy deployment, their uptake also brings technical challenges that need to be overcome.

IRENA analysis suggests uncontrolled and simultaneous charging of EVs could significantly increase congestion in power systems and peak load. Resulting in limitations to increase the share of solar PV and wind in power systems, and the need for additional investment costs in electrical infrastructure in form of replacing and additional cables, transformers, switchgears, etc., respectively.

An increase in autonomous and ‘mobility-as-a-service’ driving — i.e. innovations for car-sharing or those that would allow your car to taxi strangers when you are not using it — could disrupt the potential availability of grid-stabilising plugged-in EVs, as batteries will be connected and available to the grid less often.

Impact of charging according to type

It has also become clear that fast and ultra-fast charging are a priority for the mobility sector, however, slow charging is actually better suited for smart charging, as batteries are connected and available to the grid longer. For slow charging, locating charging infrastructure at home and at the workplace is critical, an aspect to be considered during infrastructure planning. Fast and ultra-fast charging may increase the peak demand stress on local grids. Solutions such as battery swapping, charging stations with buffer storage, and night EV fleet charging, might become necessary, in combination with fast and ultra-fast charging, to avoid high infrastructure investments.

To learn more about smart charging, read IRENA’s Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles. The report explores the degree of complementarity potential between variable renewable energy sources and EVs, and considers how this potential could be tapped through smart charging between now and mid-century, and the possible impact of the expected mobility disruptions in the coming two to three decades.

IRENA

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Energy

What may cause Oil prices to fall?

Osama Rizvi

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Oil prices have rallied a whopping 30 percent this year. Among other factors, OPEC’s commitment to reduce output, geopolitical flash-points like the brewing war in Libya, slowdown in shale production and optimism in U.S. and China trade war have all added to the increase. The recent rally being sparked by cancellation of waivers granted to countries importing oil form Iran has taken prices to new highs.

However, one might question the sustainability of this rally by pointing out few bearish factors that might cause a correction, or possibly, a fall in oil prices. The recent sharp slide shows the presence of tail-risks!

Libya produces just over 1 percent of world oil output at 1.1 million barrels, which is indeed not of such a magnitude as to dramatically affect global oil supplies. What is important is the market reaction to every geopolitical event that occurs in the Middle East given the intricate alliances and therefore the increasing chances of other countries jumping in with a national event climaxing into a regional affair.

Matters in Libya got serious as an airstrike was carried out on the only functioning airport in the country a few days ago. Khalifa Haftar who heads Libyan National Army has assumed responsibility for the strike. However, UN and G7 have urged to restore peace in Tripoli. Russia has categorically said to use “all available means” while U.S.’ Pompeo called for “an immediate halt” of atrocities in Libya.

The fighting has been far from locations that hold oil but the overall sentiment is that of fear which is understandable as this happens in parallel to a steep decline in Venezuelan production, touching multi-year low of 740,000 bpd.  However, as international forces play their part we might expect a de-escalation in the Libyan war — as it has happened before.

Besides the chances of an alleviation of hostilities in Libya, concerns pertaining to global economic growth, and thereof demand for oil, have still not disappeared. The U.S. treasury yield, one of the best measures to predict a future slowdown (recession),  inverted last month; first time since 2007. If this does not raise doubts over the global economic health then the very recent announcement by International Monetary Fund (IMF) who has slashed its outlook for world economic growth to its lowest since the last financial crisis. According to the Fund the global economy will grow 3.3 percent this year down from 3.5 percent that predicted three months ago.

image: Bloomberg

Then there is Trump, whose declaration of Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization might increase the likelihoods of yet another spate of heated rhetoric between the arch-rivals. But if he is genuinely irked by higher oil prices as his tweets at times show and if he thinks that higher gasoline prices can hurt his political capital then this will certainly have a bearish effect on the markets as observers take a sigh regarding the mounting, yet unsubstantiated,  concern over supply.

One of the factors that contributed most to the recent rally was OPEC’s unwavering commitment to its production cuts. The organization’s output fell to its lowest in a year at 30.23 million barrels per day in February 2019, its lowest in four years. But the question remains for how long can these cuts go on? Last month it was reported the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had admitted that they need oil at $70 for a balanced budget while estimates from IMF claims that the level for a budget break-even are even higher: $80-$85. We should not forget Trump and his tweets in this regard as well. Whenever prices have inched up from a certain threshold POTUS’ tweet forced the market to correct themselves (save the last time). One of the key Russian officials who made the deal with OPEC possible recently signaled that Russia may urge others to increase production as they meet in the last week of June this year. While this is not a confirmation that others will agree but it certainly shows that one of the three largest oil producers in the world does feel that markets are now almost balanced and the cuts are not needed further.

Now with the recent cancellation of waivers we should expect U.S. to press KSA to increase production to offset the lost barrels and stabilize the prices.

Finally stoking fears of an impending supply crunch (a bullish factor) is the supposed slowdown in U.S. Shale production. But the facts might be a tad different. Few weeks ago U.S. added 15 oil rigs in one day, a very strong number indeed-this comes after a decline of streak of six consecutive weeks. According to different estimates the shale producers are fine with prices anywhere between $48 to $54 and the recent rise in prices has certainly helped. Well Fargo Investment Institute Laforge said that higher prices will result in “extra U.S. oil production in coming months”. Albeit, U.S.’ average daily production has decreased a bit but it doesn’t mean that the shale producers cannot bring back production online again. Prices are very conducive for it.

So if you think that prices will continue to head higher, think again. Following graph shows that oil had entered the overbought territory few days back–hence the recent slide.

Therefore, If the war in Libya settles down (and there is a strong possibility that it will); rumors of a production increase making its way into investors’ and traders’ mind (as it already have) and global economy continue to struggle in order to gain a strong footing — the chances are oil will fall again. The current rally might last for some-time but, like always, beware not to buy too high.

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No One Understands the Weaponization of Energy better than Russia and Iran

Todd Royal

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One of the most important lessons from World War II (WWII) is this: integrated economic growth is always better than a global war that engulfed all seven continents and killed over 100 million people. Since oil, natural gas and coal is now intertwined with geopolitics, international relations, foreign policy, realist balancing that pits nation against nation, and macroeconomic monetary policy; energy and electricity are now coupled with national security.  Russia and Iran use fossil fuel, nuclear power plants and renewable energy as weapons – hence the term – the weaponization of energy.

Confronting both countries using alliances like NATO to hem Russia and Iran into their respective regions of influence while also using soft power to coax them into using their energy resources in a positive direction is where the world is now and into the future. What’s disconcerting about the weaponization of energy is how Russia and Iran use energy as a foreign policy and national security weapon. The same way a nuclear arsenal is exploited to deter enemies and project national power and pride.

The largest problem with Russia are both state-run and influenced energy firms – Rosneft and Gazprom – seemingly are beyond balancing, containing or deterring since they are incredibly profitable. Alexei Bolshakov, general director of Citigroup Global Markets stated in late November 2018:

“They [Russian oil and gas companies] are having an absolutely fabulous year (2018 into 2019). They earn more per barrel than they did even during $100 barrel oil prices.”

Another Russian senior analyst echoed the same sentiments: “Russian oil and gas companies are flooded with cash, they don’t know what to do with it.”This allows Vladimir Putin the ability to engage in geopolitical adventures in Syria, Ukraine, Crimea, the United States, Europe, the Arctic Circle and his own country. Oil and natural gas profits from each firm is a never-ending source of money and financial power that translate into hard, military resources used for projecting Russian power. It’s like the Cold War never ended.

To the Obama administration’s credit they attempted exhaustive diplomacy with Iran, but it failed. The counter to diplomacy and a helping hand in energy and nuclear weaponry is that under former President Obama:

“Iran was closer than ever to nuclear weapons, received hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, and had billions in cash flown over to them in jets (illegally).”

Whichever perspective is correct, and history will be the judge, nothing was deterred from the Iranian or Middle East’s perspective. Iran and there use of energy for their military, paramilitary organizations and Hezbollah is more powerful than ever before. Iran is now entrenched in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon and has created an arc of influence from their homeland over multiple countries to the Mediterranean Sea. It can be argued the Iranian regime is in the best position to counter the US-led global order and can use energy with Islamic terrorism to remake the liberal world order in place for over seventy years.

While western countries and environmentalists such as Al Gore, well-known Hollywood actors, and overly environmental sensitive political parties (the Greens in Germany or the US Democratic Party)tout their green virtue, Iran on the other hand is going against the US-negotiated Iran nuclear agreement and is building two new nuclear plants There isn’t a solid reason behind building nuclear power plants when Iran is blessed with one of the largest supplies of natural gas, oil, and petroleum plays in the world. Iran is moving forward with nuclear plants under the guise of energy to electricity, because they are still trying to build or acquire nuclear weapons to use against Israel, the EU, the US, and Sunni Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Iran building two new nuclear reactors has elicited outrage in Washington and the Trump administration. This a major cause – the Iran problem – why Trump has allowed and encouraged US oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) firms to “drill baby drill” without pause. According to Rystad Energy, they believe:

“The United States will surpass Saudi Arabia later this year (2019) in exports of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products like gasoline.”

This exploding E&P has caused a complete overhaul in rising US natural gas consumption and the all-time highs keep breaking records. The only thing stopping the US from drilling and using oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear as natural security buffers against Russia and Iran are legislative fiats coming from federal benches that have zero basis in judicial accountability. But the world has to begin “getting real about Iran,” its murderous intentions, brutality against women, gays, Christians and anyone not fully supporting the revolutionary Iranian regime and government.

Since Iran is a leading member of OPEC, and has massive reserves of oil and natural gas, Iran like Russia uses their deep earth minerals and energy deposits as weapons the way NATO uses their military divisions to deter Russia. Energy is the soft economic power weapon of choice for Russia and Iran. Unless each is confronted, deterred, destroyed or regime change occurs these problems will only fester and grow worse. Then the continued weaponization of energy will become a regional, international or global war with oil, petroleum, aviation fuel, nuclear energy and natural gas being at the forefront of who wins and who loses once shots are fired and bombs are dropped.

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