Port Qasim EPC power station

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Port Qasim EPC power station is an operating power station of at least 1320-megawatts (MW) in Port Qasim, Sindh, Pakistan.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Port Qasim EPC power station Port Qasim, Sindh, Pakistan 24.7845, 67.36939 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2: 24.7845, 67.36939

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - unknown 660 unknown 2017
Unit 2 operating coal - unknown 660 unknown 2018

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Port Qasim Electric Power Co Ltd [100.0%]
Unit 2 Port Qasim Electric Power Co Ltd [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): imported


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]

In July 2018, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) launched inquiries into alleged corruption at Port Qasim EPC power station and Sahiwal power station.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15] The situation seems to be continuing as of December, 2022. [16]

The plant generated 7478 GWh of electricity in the year ending June 2022, and 8372 GWh in the year ending June 2021.[17]

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.[18]

In March 2023, 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.[19] Another source reported that the company had already shut down both units at the power station, as the outstanding foreign exchange requests led to the coal supplier stopping shipments after January 2023.[20]

In July 2023, the NAB closed their investigation into Port Qasim EPC power station and Sahiwal power station, which allegedly caused an annual combined loss of Rs. 175 billion (US$617 million) to the national exchequer.[21]

In September 2023, the insurer of the power station, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), expressed that they were "highly concerned about the current operational status of the plant." Sinosure reportedly asked the government to arrange an agreement among the Private Power and Infrastructure Board, Central Power Purchasing Agency, and power station owners to resolve payment issues.[22]

Also in September 2023, the interim Pakistan government approved the allocation of 56 billion Pakistani rupees (US$188 million) to construct a 105-km-long railway connecting the Thar coal fields to Port Qasim. The railway line would enable coal power plants at Port Qasim to burn Thar lignite rather than rely on imported coal. The Sindh provincial government, which had promoted the use of the Thar lignite fields, approved the railway in August 2023.[23]

As of December 2023, Port Qasim EPC power station had reportedly had 82 days of "non-availability".[24]

Potential conversion to domestic coal

In April 2024, the government of Pakistan announced their intent to convert coal plants currently using imported coal to run on domestic coal. This reportedly included three plants backed by Chinese companies – Port Qasim EPC power station, Sahiwal power station, and Hubco power station. Pakistan's Prime Minister had directed the Ministry of Planning to raise their interest in converting these plants to run on domestic coal with China's National Development and Reform Commission. Pakistan estimated that converting the three plants would save US$800 million on the cost of coal.[25]


  • Source of financing: US$1.564 billion in debt from Export-Import Bank of China[26]

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.[27]

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).[28]

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.[29]


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.[30]

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.”[31]

In January 2024, an article titled "Closing coal plants early makes economic sense in Pakistan" highlighted Port Qasim EPC power station.[32]

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. "NAB initiates inquiries into PML-N govt’s energy projects," Dawn, July 3, 2018
  14. "State of Industry Report 2021," National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, October 2021
  15. "Payment of Rs80bn: PQ coal-fired power project seeks Chinese Embassy’s help," Business Recorder, April 19, 2022
  16. "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)
  17. "State of Industry Report 2022" (PDF). nepra.org.pk. 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "Pakistan’s imported coal generation at five-year low," Argus Media, December 21, 2022
  19. "CPEC power projects: China concerned over payment issues," Business Recorder, March 6, 2023
  20. "Chinese embassy writes to govt for resolving Port Qasim payments issue," Pakistan Today Profit, March 8, 2023
  21. "NAB closes inquiry into Port Qasim and Sahiwal coal power projects," Pakistan Today Profit, July 18, 2023
  22. "CPEC power plants: Sinosure demands govt make payments," Business Recorder, September 18, 2023
  23. "Govt okays $300m expensive loan," The Express Tribune, September 8, 2023
  24. "Imported coal-based projects: ECC okays settlement of issues with PQEPCL," Business Recorder, December 29, 2023
  25. "‘All plants to shift to local coal’," The Express Tribune, April 16, 2024
  26. "Port Qasim Coal-fired Power Project: CPEC’s first project witnesses emphatic progress on ground," Pakistan Today, accessed November 24, 2020
  27. "Carmichael Briefing Note: Are Australian Taxpayers About to Subsidise a Chinese State Owned Enterprise?" IEEFA, November 2, 2017
  28. "Why is Pakistan opening up new coal power plants, even as the world says goodbye to coal?" Dawn, June 24, 2019
  29. "China's illegal 'profiteering' in power sector leads to massive blackouts in Pakistan," Energy World, January 22, 2021
  30. “Fishermen oppose ‘dirty’ coal power,” Pakistan Today, October 14, 2014
  31. “Ali v. Federation of Pakistan,” The Supreme Court of Pakistan, April 2016
  32. "Closing coal plants early makes economic sense in Pakistan," Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, January 11, 2024

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.