Energy Crisis in Pakistan Its Causes and Consequences Essay

By | June 15, 2019


Energy has played a far more important role in human affairs than merely as a source of light, heat or motion. It is still destined to play a pivotal role in the development of three fourths of mankind; the great majority of which is barely subsisting the people who have been stamped with misery and their future is bleak with despair. One of the important indicators of their under development is the highly inequitable distribution of energy use. The industrialized countries with less than a one- fourth of the world’s population are consuming three fourth of global energy production. The developing countries have thereby to face the twin problem of a rapidly depleting resource base and a fast deteriorating environment.


Energy is that ability by which non-living bodies work like living bodies. So in any sector whether it is domestic, industrial or agricultural, the economic prosperity demands a strong infrastructure and energy is the most vital ingredient of this infrastructure.


We can divide energy resources into two categories i.e.

  1. Renewable resources i.e. (Hydel & Nuclear)
  2. Non renewable resources i.e. (Coal, Gas and Oil)

Other Resources

  1. Solar i.e. Energy from the sun
  2. Tidal i.e. Energy through tides of the sea
  3. Geothermal i.e. Energy from where volcanoes erupt
  4. Wind i.e. Energy through the wind
  5. Bio-Gas i.e. Energy through fossils

The situation in Pakistan

Pakistan is a developing country and is, in fact, on the lower rungs of the development ladder with a literacy rate of 45 percent, an average life expectancy of 59 years and per capita income a little over $400. A large majority of the population is without access to safe drinking water. The major cause of its backwardness is that it has not enough energy resources to meet its energy demand. [the_ad id=”17141″]

Primary Sources

Coal 6.9%

Pakistan’s low level of development and industrialization is in large part due to this low level of energy resources. So large energy import dependence is due to its poor energy resources base. The energy demand is growing but the sources are inadequate for future development and growth. These are the problems and challenges, which have to be met in future.

Every year the demand is increasing at the rate of 13 percent and production is increasing at the rate of only 7 percent. At present WAPDA is producing electricity from Hydel and thermal units with the ratio of 41.39 percent and 58.69 percent respectively.

Any energy crisis is any great hurdle in the supply of energy resources to an economy. The energy crisis is caused by various factors, first of all, the gap between supply and demand is the biggest’obstacle. Currently, 7,500 Mega Watts’ of electricity is being produced which is nearly only 40% of the nations’ demand.

Causes of Power Crisis

  1. After 1974, no new projects for electricity have been made, whereas demand is increasing day by day.
  2. Our dams are not producing required target of energy.
  3. Limited natural resources at our disposal.
  4. Limited Hydrothermal resources available.
  5. Dry spell and low water level in Pakistan.
  6. Rural electrification at a large scale as 65 percent of our population is living in rural areas.
  7. Lack of finance and technology to explore new oil wells.
  8. Massive increase in population at the rate of 2.5 percent.
  9. Rapid industrialization throughout the country.
  10. Sharp increase in the use of electrical appliances by majority of the population.
  11. Preponderant increase in the vehicular traffic.
  12. Mechanization of Agriculture.
  13. Circular debt is another major cause, according to Economist Magazine about $880 is causing blockage in the smooth running of energy’s machinery causing hurdle in the generation and fair distribution of energy.
  14. Lack of planning and technology to human natural resources currently country is generating 48% of its energy from gas, 33% from hydal, 17% from oil 2% nuclear and only 1% from coal which shows 175 billion tons of untouched coal reserves need to be tapped are generated soon.
  15. Another cause of energy crisis in a country that high cost of fuel, as price of crude oil has increased from $40 to $140 a barrel.
  16. 30 percent of Pakistani water is going into the sea unutilized. Mangla and Tarbela dams are producing electricity less than their actual capacity. [the_ad id=”17142″]


  1. Slow industrialization.
  2. Low agricultural output.
  3. Disturbance in domestic life and social unrest.
  4. Disturbance in official working and suffering of business.
  5. It affects the political fabric of the country.
  6. Dependence upon foreign aid.
  7. Low investment.

In other words we can say that it is the major obstacle in the way to progress, development and prosperity.

Energy Units

1: Oil

The oil wells in Pakistan are in Khor, Dhalian, Joya Mir, Balkasar, Karsal Tat, Kot Sarang, Mial, Dhodak and Badein. There is three oil refineries in Pakistan, Attock Oil Refinery, Karachi Oil Refinery and Natural Oil Refinery. Our production of oil is very low. So we have to import it from Iran, Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries to meet the growing demand.

2: Gas

It was found in Sui in Baluchistan in 1952. There are also twenty-five other fields, which are producing gas, e.g. Pirkot, Mari Sibi, Khaushab, Khair pur, etc. But this production is not enough because these fields have only the capability to meet the demands for the next 10 to 15 years.

3: Coal

Major fields of coal are located at Pir Ismail, Ziarat, Sor Ranges, Degari, Mach, Harnai, Shahrug Khort and Suki in Baluchistan, Dandot, Ara Katha, Ghamial and Makorwal in Punjab and Jumper and Larkana in Sindh. This production of coal is not of fine quality but recently fine quality of coal has been found in Thar (Sindh). The fields of coal in THAR are very large and they have attracted a number of foreign investors.

4: Electricity

There are many hydel and thermal units producing electricity. The major units are Tarbela, Mangla, Warsak, Kotri, etc. Hydel power projects are about 10 in number and producing 41.35 percent of the total production while thermal is about 8 in number and they are producing 58.65 percent of the total production. One, Kanupp Nuclear power project at Karachi is producing. 125 MW. [the_ad id=”17150″]

Projects under construction and consideration

1: Oil

The government is trying best to explore new oil fields. For this purpose, the government has contracted a number of projects with foreign companies and offered them some attractive packages. The work is under progress and these companies are digging wells in Sind and Baluchistan.

2: Gas

Similarly, to explore new gas fields, the government has reached some agreements with well-known foreign companies. The government is also discussing to import gas from Iran and Central Asian States.

3: Coal

To explore the large quantity and fine quality of coal, the government is striving very hard. It has made some agreements with some foreign countries. Recently a large coal mine was explored in Thar (Sindh). It is fine quality coal and will be used for producing electricity.

4: Electricity

The government is giving more importance to produce surplus electricity. There are a number of projects initiated by the present government as well as by the previous regimes. These projects are as follows:

1: Kalabag Dam (The Indus Dam)

Since our present production of electricity is about 12530 MW and we are in great need of electricity that is 21000 MW. So Indus Dam is the most feasible project for this purpose. But due to some technical and political reasons, it is still under consideration. Its total capacity of production will be 3600 MW and the cost is 1.5 billion Dollars.

2: Hub Power Project: Baluchistan

Total production capacity of this project is 1192 MW and the cost is 1820 million Dollars. A thermal project in private sector is under construction.

3: Basha Dam

Total production capacity is 3700 MW. It is a Hydel Project.

4: Ghazi Brotha Project

Total production capacity is 1450 MW and the cost is 2250 million Dollars. It is a Hydel project.

5: US’s Private Sector in Pakistan

There is 4 billion Dollars investment in energy sector by the private investors of US. There will be 16 projects, of which 11 are thermal and 5 are Hydel. Total production capacity is expected to be 3837 MW.

6: Hong Kong’s Private Investor in Pakistan

Their total expected investment is 7 billion Dollars, and total production capacity is 5280 MW. The first’unit will started producing electricity in 1998.

7: Chashma – Nuclear Power Project

It is under construction, and its total production capacity is 900 MW. [the_ad id=”17144″]

8: UGH Power Project

Its production capacity is 586 MW. It is a thermal project in Baluchistan. It is a joint venture of US and Pakistan in private sector.

Since there are many thermal projects for producing electricity, a method hazardous for the environment so we should scrutinize these projects very carefully and there should be treatment plants to reduce the pollution and to save the environment from deterioration. However, after the completion of all these projects, we will be able to export our surplus electricity to other countries.

Options and solutions for Pakistan

Pakistan expects primary commercial energy supply to grow about 6.5 percent between 1995-2010. This will decrease coal increase share from 7 percent to 18 percent, decrease in oil share from 40 percent to 37 percent, natural gas from 37 percent to 18 percent. Hydro development will be constrained by very high cost. However, there are certain short term and long term measures which can help us to improve the situation.

  1. We should first emphasize the efficient use of energy. We can do it by increasing efficiency or cutting waste. The government has already initiated a program of mass awareness. Pakistan’s technical and non-technical losses are upto 25 percent, the second highest in the Asian countries. They should be reduced to 6.8 percent.
  2. Another method is price increase, thus reducing domestic demand and increasing its availability for production use. The price increase will also attract the private sector to invest and to feed energy to the national grid.
  3. Successful strategies for public transport. As in Pakistan, private car ownership is increasing at a rate of 10 to 12 percent annually.
  4. Construction of small dams for storing water in summer to utilize when dry spell arrives and to produce electricity.
  5. Political instability and antagonistic political elements are the obstacles in the way to progress.
  6. National Finance Commission and the Council of Common Interests are very useful for this purpose.
  7. Research has to be stepped up on sclar energy as a substitute for other resources.
  8. Nuclear power for multiplying energy requirements.
  9. According to a foreign survey, there are 30 places in Pakistan where we can produce electricity by hyde! mean. So we should give priority to hydel projects instead of thermal projects. [the_ad id=”17151″]
  10. To control the rapid population growth.
  11. Forestation all over the country
  12. Exploration of new oil, gas and coal resources. More incentive for private sector is feasible for this task.
  13. The use of energy resources i.e. solar and wind especially for rural population living in small agricultural units.
  14. Everyone should stop using energy unnecessarily leaving lights and home
    appliances one even when they are not being used is a common practice is our society. Similarly, many businesses such as shops dealing in cloth and garments, jewelry, cosmetics, home appliances and electronics usually extravagantly list. It is commonly observed that shops that could do wish two or three 40-watt tube lights to meet the desired level of luminance are as many as 15 to 20 tubes. Not only does this increase power consumption, it also generates heat and makes the environment uncomfortable.
  15. Thermal power is mostly produced by burning either natural gas or imported oil. The country is yet to switch over to coal from the indigenous source of energy that is estimated to be the third largest in the world with a reserve of 33.0 trillion tons.

With its evolving industrial infrastructure and political and social pressures, Pakistan will obviously need large inputs of energy for take off. The concept of sustainable development requires that the future energy demand be satisfied efficiently, equitably and wisely. Pakistan’s immediate concern is to provide adequate energy for its socio-economic development. The basic improvement in the quality of human life will require a rapid rise in energy use, for which this country is looking continuously for an appropriate strategy.


In view of the present political, economic and environmental status of Pakistan, it is not wise to utilize all the expertise in the nuclear field, but rather give equal and well-organized attention to the only remaining resources that is water, without affecting the struggle for the nuclear option.

The world has progressed in the industrial age, using energy in the forms of electricity and fuel. Energy has become an essential component of our daily life as much as food and societies with an abundance of these two continue to prosper. So it is high time for a decision that can lead us towards prosperity by narrowing the gap between demand and supply of energy.

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