“A Comprehensive Review of Pakistan’s Energy”

Ali Raza
5 min readMay 27, 2021


In this world, there are numerous energy resources hidden inside. Thus, the energy-rich countries can be seen as having bigger economies, and they provide most of the energy supplies to the world. There are various examples of the above-mentioned statement such as Iran, CAR’s (Central Asian region), Russia, China, India, Europe, last but not the least, and the U.S. Pakistan is one of the energy-rich countries, be it gas, oil, or other energy resources like hydropower energy, wind and solar power, and other fossil fuels. Unwittingly, Pakistan is in the dark, even in the 21st century, due to the lack of policy and framework. However, improper distribution of energy supply has led to the closure of businesses and disturbances to the consumers. According to The World bank report 2018, up to 50 million people lack excess grid electricity, and 90 million consumers are facing power shortages. The report further cites that 1/5 of the electricity is lost due to theft and poor infrastructure. In 2020, the overall energy import bill was 668.33 million USD out of the total imports of 3.31 billion USD. Pakistan needs a proper policy framework and implantation to be adopted, to improve the inefficiencies.

Pakistan’s primary energy sources are oil, natural gas, nuclear, and coal energy. The secondary source is renewables such as wind power, hydropower, solar-power energy. According to the estimates, Pakistan’s energy mix is formed of 27% hydropower, 4% renewables, and 67% fossil fuels. Whereas, if we look individually into the fossil fuel contributions, the share fuel oil and natural gas stand at 31.2% and 34.6%. Clearing the dust on the oil consumption and production in Pakistan, there is a huge difference year by year. Oil consumption since 2008 has risen from 389.288mt to 445.864mt in 2019, and 16.36m mt in 2020. Whilst, according to The Global Economy data, the oil production in 2012 was 71.00 Th bpd, while in 2019 it was 84.98 Th bpd. In 2019, the production of crude oil stood at 4.3m MT, which was barely meeting 20 per cent of the country’s total demand. However, 80 per cent of the crude oil was imported, and it costs 15–16bn USD annually. Pakistan has currently five oil refineries, they mostly run on imported crude oil.

Figure 1: https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Pakistan/oil_production/

According to the data, the oil imports in July-December (2020/21) were recorded at 4771.471 million USD. The government is looking forward to improving the deficits. Though, the PARCO is vying to invest around 5–6 billion USD, to increase the oil production in Pakistan. According to the estimates, the refinery will produce around 250,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.

Simultaneously, the natural gas demand is always high in Pakistan, and it contributes 38% to the country’s energy mix. A data cites Pakistan’s gas production is around 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), although, the demand is 6–8 bcfd. Thus, the government of Pakistan started to import natural gas in 2015. “Pakistan consumes 21 cubic feet per capita per day” (worldometers.info). According to PBS, Pakistan imported LNG at 2.662 billion USD, during June-July 2019 and 2020. World bank report published in 2018, reported that 14 per cent of gas is lost in transmission and distribution which affects directly or indirectly the energy sector.

Within the primary energy sources, nuclear energy is one of the main components. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are almost six nuclear power plants in Pakistan, generating almost 2,332 MWe, while 1100MW capacity plants are under construction. A report by International Energy Agency includes that nuclear energy is contributing almost 7% to the total energy mix in Pakistan.

Another primary source of energy in Pakistan is coal energy. Thar coal reserves in Sindh are the largest in Pakistan with a capacity of 184,123 MT founded. Pakistan is ranked 20th in coal reserves, and 38th in coal consumption. The total coal reserves in Pakistan are estimated at around 183,975 MT. The Express Tribune says that the coal energy share has risen to 25% since 2019, due to the addition of the Thar coal power plant and various projects in Baluchistan. In 2019, the coal power share came to almost 2,357 gigawatt/hours. According to the (world meter) data (2016), Pakistan has approximately 3,377,477,840 tons of coal undiscovered. The data further estimates, Pakistan has 331 years of coal in its reserves yet the government imports coal annually. In the below-given graph by The Global Economy, Pakistan imported almost 17,496.31 coal in 2018, while in the past it has imported less than that of present imports.

Figure 2: https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Pakistan/coal_imports/

Besides a large chunk of energy coming from fossil fuel, Pakistan is also dependent on renewable energy. Renewable energy is the form of clean and green energy, it has been the goal of all the countries to shift from dirty fossil fuels to renewables, thus Pakistan has made a goal to meet the international standards to create most of its energy from renewables. Pakistan has assured the globe, that it will shift to 60% clean energy, and also 30pc vehicles by 2030. Pakistan has a 9,827 MW hydropower capacity at the current pace. In 1991, hydropower accounted for around 45% of the energy capacity which has dropped to 27%. Pakistan has installed more than 90 power projects and plants which are generating almost 10132.52 MW. Pakistan’s Water and Development Authority (WAPDA) has veiled the capacity of 60,000 MW hydropower potential in the country and is looking forward to work on it soon.

Pakistan has the potential to produce solar and wind energy. Currently, Pakistan has installed 22 solar projects at the initial stage, they are generating 890MW energy. And the coastal region of Pakistan which is stretching up to 1000+ km can be used as a great opportunity to utilize. The World Bank has urged the government of Pakistan to expand its solar and wind power to meet at least 30% of the total energy demand of electricity by 2030, it is equivalent to up to 24,000MW. The report further describes that renewable energy can reduce environmental threats and improve energy security, and it will help Pakistan to save 5bn USD for up to the next 20 years.



Ali Raza

The writer is a student of Agricultural economics, and having interest in geo-economic and politcal issues, current affairs, agriculture, and environment.