October 22, 2018 / 7:36 AM / 24 days ago

CORRECTED-Pakistan's delayed gas-power plants set for final pre-operations checks in Dec-Jan -official

(Corrects to clarify in 3rd paragraph that the units go into maintenance in Dec/Jan, not commercial operations)

By Aaron Sheldrick

NAGOYA, Japan, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Three gas-fired power plants commissioned last year to ease electricity shortages in Pakistan, which have been beset by delays, are set for final checks in the December-January period, an official from Pakistan LNG said on Monday.

“The teething problems have been resolved, we have been told, and all three have reached COD (commercial operations date),” the official said, requesting anonymity.

The units will have to go into maintenance for final checks between December and January, the Pakistan LNG official told Reuters, while attending an energy conference in Nagoya, Japan.

The Pakistan power stations, built by Chinese contractors and with turbines supplied by General Electric Co (GE) of the United States, are due to add 3,600 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity.

Pakistan made a big bet on the promised efficiency of GE’s flagship 9HA gas turbines to help solve crippling power outages, pushing to finish three new plants in a shorter than usual time frame. However, their full start-up has been riddled with technical problems.

The delays at the three new plants - Haveli, Bhikki and Balloki - have forced Pakistan LNG to divert contracted liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments.

Once the power plants in commercial operations, Pakistan will be in the market for LNG to fire them up, the official said.

“We have 3 million tonnes that I have to fill in the next few months,” he said.

Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick Editing by Henning Gloystein and Kenneth Maxwell

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