Port Qasim EPC power station

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Port Qasim EPC power station, also known as the Pakistan Port Qasim power project, is a 1,320-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Sindh province, Pakistan.


The map below shows the plant in Bin Qasim, Sindh province, Pakistan.

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The Port Qasim EPC power station comprises of two units of 660 MW each. It was proposed by Port Qasim Electric Power Company, a joint venture of PowerChina (51%) and Al Mirqab Capital (49%), put together by former Ehtesab Bureau chief Saifur Rehman.[1] In May 2015, Dongfang Electric Company (DEC), including Dongfang Turbin, Dongfang Electric Machinery, and SEPCO III signed an equipment supply agreement for the construction of the plant, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.[2]

In July 2014, Sinohydro Holding Company of Hong Kong and a Qatar-based investment firm were granted environmental clearance for the 1,320 MW coal plant in Karachi. Two 660-megawatt power generation units were set to be installed under the project, at a total estimated investment of US$1.95 billion. According to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the project, the estimated annual rate of coal consumption would be 4.6 tonnes and about 310,061 tonnes of fly ash and 54,871 tonnes of bottom ash would be produced annually.[3][4]

In February 2015, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) approved a US$0.8 cents per unit upfront levelised tariff for the power plant over 30 years.[5]

In April 2015, China Daily reported that that Sinohydro Resources, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd. (commonly known as Power China) had signed a joint venture agreement for the project with Al Malaki Group of Qatar. Under the agreement, the venture was set to be a 51:49 arrangement, with Sinohydro owning the larger share. The project would include the construction of a new port for coal delivery. The project was part of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiatives.[6]

The Pakistan Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved the project in May 2015. The project was estimated to take four years.[7]

Construction began on May 6, 2015, and was scheduled to last 42 months; as of July 2016, however, Unit 1 was expected to go online by Q4 2017, and Unit 2 by Q1 2018, well ahead of schedule. The project would cost US$2.1 billion.[8][9][10]

In November 2017, Unit 1 was inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbassi.[11]

Unit 2 began commercial operation in April 2018.[12]

Between 2018 and 2021, at least five system blackouts related to the plant have occurred. They were reportedly due to faults causing the transmission lines to trip.[13]

In April 2022, management of the project stated that the total payment due in tariff payment had reached $446 million USD and that the due amount entitled Port Qasim EPC to suspend the plant's operation under the PPA. As a major project in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the plant was seeking support from the Government of Pakistan, the Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guaranteed, and the Chinese Embassy. The delay in payment was causing a "huge shortfall and loss" for the power station and could be exacerbated by rising global coal prices seen in mid 2022.[14] The situation seems to be continuing as of December, 2022. [15]

The plant generated 7478 GWh of electricity in the year ending June 2022, and 8372 GWh in the year ending June 2021.[16]

In December 2022, electricity production at Pakistan's three power stations operating on imported coal (Sahiwal power station, Port Qasim EPC power station and Hubco power station) fell to a five-year low. The slump was due to high prices; quality coal was averaging $253.83 per ton in 2022, compared to $114.24 per ton in 2021 and $59.91 per ton in 2020.[17]

In March 2022, Port Qasim Electric Power Co. reported that the power station was at an immediate risk of shut down due to the Government of Pakistan's default on financial obligations.[18]


The project was reported to have cost approximately US$2.085 billion. The equity/debt ratio of the project was 25:75. The Import-Export Bank of China (China EXIM Bank) provided the debt finance.[19]

In June 2019, it was reported that the 1,320 MW coal plant was facing financial difficulties just a year after operations began due to rising debt and the soaring cost of imported coal. Al Mirqab Capital chairman told the media that his company was facing “payment of arrears” to the tune of PKR 21 billion (US$133 million).[20]

In January 2021, Asia Times disclosed that the Port Qasim Electric Power Company Limited had inflated their set-up costs. A committee found overpayments of 483.64 billion Pakistani rupees (USD 3 billion) to several companies over the course of three years.[21]


The project was opposed by local residents, who said the EIA report lacked details about coal ash disposal and an emergency plan, which experts said was necessary for projects located in a disaster-prone area like the coast.[4]

In October 2014, the Pakistan Fisherman Forum protested against the government’s plan for Port Qasim power plants. These protestors included the coastal community people of Karachi, a city in Pakistan. They called the power plant “dirty energy” and a threat to the marine ecology and human life among coastal villages. These protests included a rally that was part of week-long activities to demand safe energy for the people of Karachi.[22]

In April 2016, Qazi Ali Athar, an environmental law attorney, filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for Rabab Ali against the Federation of Pakistan & Another. The petition highlighted how the actions of the Federation, such as the Port Qasim plant, were increasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, and that the citizens of Pakistan had a “Right to Life” under the “Doctrine of Public Trust.”[23]

Project Details

  • Owner: Port Qasim Electric Power Company
  • Parent company: Power Construction Corp. of China Ltd. (PowerChina (51%) and Al Mirqab Capital (49%))
  • Location: Bin Qasim, Sindh province, Pakistan
  • Coordinates: 24.7845, 67.36939 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross Capacity: 1,320 MW (Units 1 & 2: 660 MW)
  • Type: Supercritical
  • Projected in service: 2017 (Unit 1), 2018 (Unit 2)
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Coal Source: Imported (Indonesia, South Africa, Australia)
  • Source of financing: US$1.564 billion in debt from Export-Import Bank of China[24]

Articles and resources


  1. "Chinese and Qatari firms to build coal power plant in Pakistan," Power Engineering, April 9, 2015
  2. "DEC Signed Pakistan QASIM 2x660MW Coal-fired Power Project with SEPCO III," DEC website, May 22, 2015
  3. "Port Qasim EPC," Generation license application, August 13, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 Faiza Ilyas, "Sepa ignores environmental concerns, approves coal power projects," Dawn.com, July 7, 2014
  5. "Nepra approves upfront tariff for Port Qasim plant," Dawn, February 14, 2015
  6. Du Juan, "Company to build power station in Pakistan," China Daily USA, April 10, 2015
  7. "Projects worth Rs538bn approved," Dawn, May 14, 2015
  8. "Application for Grant of a Generation License for Port Qasim Coal-Fired Power Project (with Integrated Self-Use Jetty) (1320 (660x2) MW (Gross ISO)) at Port Qasim, Karachi, Sindh," Port Qasim Electric Power Company, August 13, 2014
  9. "Port Qasim Coal Fired Power Project Holds Ground Breaking Ceremony," CEC news release, accessed July 2016
  10. "CPEC's first coal-fired power plant to cut Pakistan's energy shortfall significantly," Pakistan Today, July 3, 2016
  11. "PM inaugurates Port Qasim coal power plant's unit in Karachi," Dunya News, November 29, 2017
  12. "2×660MW Coal-Fired Power Plants At Port Qasim Karachi," CPEC, May 3, 2018
  13. "State of Industry Report 2021," National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, October 2021
  14. "Payment of Rs80bn: PQ coal-fired power project seeks Chinese Embassy’s help," Business Recorder, April 19, 2022
  15. "Trade debts: PQEPC seeks permanent exemption from application of IFRS-9". https://www.brecorder.com/. December 2022. {{cite web}}: External link in |website= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "State of Industry Report 2022" (PDF). nepra.org.pk. 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Pakistan’s imported coal generation at five-year low," Argus Media, December 21, 2022
  18. "CPEC power projects: China concerned over payment issues," Business Recorder, March 6, 2023
  19. "Carmichael Briefing Note: Are Australian Taxpayers About to Subsidise a Chinese State Owned Enterprise?" IEEFA, November 2, 2017
  20. "Why is Pakistan opening up new coal power plants, even as the world says goodbye to coal?" Dawn, June 24, 2019
  21. "China's illegal 'profiteering' in power sector leads to massive blackouts in Pakistan," Energy World, January 22, 2021
  22. “Fishermen oppose ‘dirty’ coal power,” Pakistan Today, October 14, 2014
  23. “Ali v. Federation of Pakistan,” The Supreme Court of Pakistan, April 2016
  24. "Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project: CPEC’s first project witnesses emphatic progress on ground," Pakistan Today, accessed November 24, 2020

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