Tag Archives: study

NBN boss calls for study into broadband future

Updated February 23, 2013 12:53:09

The head of the National Broadband Network (NBN) wants an industry study to determine the best way to build the high-speed internet project.

Construction has been underway on the NBN for more than two years but there is still debate over which technology should be used.

The NBN Co is using a technology called ‘fibre to the premises’, which goes all the way to a home, to build most of the network.

But the Coalition wants to use ‘fibre to the node’. It says this method is faster and cheaper, but it will come with slower speeds.

NBN boss Mike Quigley is trying to bring an end to the debate in the lead up to the federal election.

He says he supports a proposed study by the Communications Alliance into the pros and cons of a range of technologies to see which is best.

“It gives them an opportunity to have a voice and give their opinion on what is the right way forward for the NBN,” he told PM.

“There is a lot of debate at the moment about what the right way forward is. Who’s better placed than the industry itself to have a view?”

But he says his support for the study does not mean he does not fully support the NBN.

“Having an open debate can only be a good thing for the country,” he said.

Opposition communication spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says the study should have been completed before the Government embarked on the NBN project.

“Mike Quigley’s statement today is a colossal admission of failure,” he told PM.

“It is admitting that the Government has made a hash of this … that there needs to be an examination of the different options and … that should have been done four years ago.”

“The question should have been asked: ‘we want everyone in Australia to have very fast broadband, what are the options to do so, let’s rank them in terms of time of deployment, cost of deployment, service delivery outcomes’.

“That’s what we’ve been begging the Government to do for four years, but they’ve embarked on this, they’ve arrogantly dismissed every request for this and now Mike Quigley himself is saying he’d like to see it done.”

Mr Turnbull says if the Coalition wins government, it will examine all aspects of the NBN and decide whether the rollout should continue.

“We will ensure there is produced a comprehensive analysis, totally transparent analysis, of what it will take in terms of dollars and time to complete the network on the plan of the current Government,” he said.

“We will then produce a similar analysis which shows the savings in dollars and time by burying it, by making changes, along the lines of the kind that we’ve proposed, using much more fibre to the node, which is consistent with the experience and practice in most other developed markets.

“We’ll also ensure there is done a cost benefit analysis by the Productivity Commission, and we will also conduct a very rigorous inquiry into the whole process relating to the NBN.

“I think Australians need to be told the truth about this project, they need to be told how it could possible have been embarked upon with so little analysis.”

The board of the Communications Alliance, which represents the telecommunications industry, has not yet decided whether it will go ahead with the study.

But its chief executive, John Stanton, says it is the right time to look at the technologies on offer.

“I guess the point is we’re not at a late stage of the rollout of the NBN, we’re in the very early stages of a nine year or more rollout,” he said.

“The nexus of the idea here is that technologies develop, things are learnt as you start to roll out a network like this, and it is logical and inevitable that over a multi-year rollout, there will be evolution and improvement of the way that the network is deployed.

“So it could make sense to have industry, which after all designed the original reference architecture for the NBN, continue to look at what could make sense.”

Mr Stanton says the debate over high-speed internet needs to be taken out of political hands.

“We need a rational, inclusive debate that sits above politics and simply looks at what might be sensible options in the national interest,” he said.

Major telco Optus does not agree that the study by the alliance would be effective.

It has issued a statement saying it would be better for individual companies to contribute to the debate on various broadband technologies rather than a Communications Alliance review.

The ABC asked Telstra for a response to Mr Quigley’s plan for a study, but it did not reply.

Topics: telecommunications, internet-technology, computers-and-technology, government-and-politics, federal-government, australia

First posted February 22, 2013 19:49:04

Coal-generated power here to stay: study

Posted February 19, 2013 10:16:33

Coal will be a significant part of Australia’s power generation mix for at least another 20 years, according to a new study.

University of Queensland researchers say coal-generated power could be halved without compromising the country’s power supply, but they argue it will take decades of “orderly transition” to completely move to clean energy production.

“It’s not possible to make a transition where the lights don’t go out without easing coal down fairly gradually,” UQ Professor of Economics and study co-author John Foster said.

“At the moment, over 80 per cent of our power is generated from coal [and] in the context of our report, Australia is what we call a non-resilient economy in terms of its power – it’s very heavily dependent on one source.”

Mr Foster added that if Australia is to meet its 2050 emissions targets, the time for action is now.

“When you look into the engineering and all the details, you realise what a long time it takes to make these transitions – 20, 30, 40 years is the kind of time scale that you’re talking about,” he said.

“To get 80 per cent [clean energy] by 2050, we’d have to be starting right now with a fairly dramatically important shift.

“If it was nuclear, we’d have to start right now, you’d have to put more into carbon storage.

“So most of our scenarios, we just wouldn’t get to 80 per cent by 2050.”

While the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) agrees that Australia’s use of renewable energy will have to ramp up considerably to remain on target, it believes that the production of adequate levels of renewable energy can be achieved within 20 years.

“In the last year alone, solar power has dropped in price by 45 per cent and 75 per cent in the last three years,” ACF climate change program manager Tony Mohr said.

“And that’s led Bloomberg New Energy Finance to conclude that wind power and solar power are both cheaper than new coal fired power plants in Australia right now.

“So I’d say that really, we’re seeing a much faster shift towards renewable energy than we would have thought of even just a couple of years ago.

“In South Australia right now, in September last year, there was a couple of days there where wind power was contributing 55 per cent of South Australia’s total energy supply and in Spain they’ve had records set of about 60 per cent.

“Now that’s what we can do today, so it’s realistic I think to expect we’ll be able to do much better in 20 years’ time.”

Topics: environmental-impact, environmental-policy, electricity-energy-and-utilities, wind-energy, australia

Hope CSG basin study to boost water management

Updated February 12, 2013 10:23:29

A group of coal seam gas companies working in Queensland’s central-west say a new study should help to improve future water management.

The Galilee Basin Operators Forum has sent a report to the State Government on groundwater resources in the basin.

There is some concern about the impact of CSG activities, including on the Great Artesian Basin.

Forum spokesman Tor McCaul says the study highlights what areas need more monitoring but he says the basin is still in early exploration stages.

“I would estimate that the industry last year only drilled about 25 wells in the Galilee Basin,” he said.

“There’s no commercial production from the basin yet and when it comes it is likely to be just in a couple of places.

“It won’t be that the whole basin is suitable for commercial production.

“The sort of time frame I would think is probably two to five years.”

AGL Energy, a company exploring for CSG in basin, say operators are doing all they can to protect water systems from adverse impacts.

Company spokesman John Ross says groundwater systems are complex but companies are looking for gas reserves far below the Great Artesian Basin.

“The Great Artesian Basin is a huge resource, it is a very important resource,” he said.

“We are not in the business of taking that water or pressures away from people.

“It is all about working together, making sure that we understand what is happening with the really deep groundwater systems, below 1,000 metres, and making sure that what we are doing there is not impacting on the real shallower systems.”

Topics: mining-rural, oil-and-gas, mining-industry, mining-environmental-issues, water, activism-and-lobbying, longreach-4730, mount-isa-4825, toowoomba-4350, bundaberg-4670

First posted February 12, 2013 09:18:04

CSG firms reveal groundwater resources study

A group of coal seam gas (CSG) companies has presented the Queensland Government with a new report on groundwater resources in the Galilee Basin.

The Galilee Basin Operators’ Forum comprises companies like AGL, Exoma and Origin Energy, which are exploring in Queensland’s central west.

The study on groundwater data has taken almost two years to complete and includes information on more than 10,000 registered water bores.

Spokesman Tor McCaul says it will help to improve understanding of groundwater systems and should result in better future management.

“There wasn’t any new data added to this study right now,” he said.

“It’s a summary of everything that is existing.

“Part of what it does is to try and identify which areas of the basin need particular monitoring.”

The Gasfields Commission is visiting Longreach this week to hear from companies, landholders and councils on CSG exploration.

Topics: activism-and-lobbying, mining-rural, mining-environmental-issues, oil-and-gas, mining-industry, federal—state-issues, local-government, regional, community-development, longreach-4730, mount-isa-4825, toowoomba-4350

First posted February 11, 2013 13:38:38

Activists doubt river gas study

The Lock the Gate Alliance has questioned the validity of a State Government investigation into gas seeping into a western Darling Downs river in the state’s south.

The report found the gas, which is bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River, near Chinchilla, does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.

The alliance says the gas is linked to nearby coal seam gas (CSG) wells.

Secretary Sarah Moles says the Government has a vested interest in the CSG industry and cannot be trusted.

“Affected landholders and people in the vicinity have very little or no confidence in the independence of the Government’s testing and the community should be involved in selecting a truly independent company or scientific organisation to undertake those tests so that everybody is confident,” she said.

She says the report’s findings are flawed.

“It seems inconsistent to be able to say there is no proof,” she said.

“I’d further add that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and if they continue to test, which is a good thing, then it seems premature to … claim that there are no risks.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, regional-development, environmental-impact, rivers, activism-and-lobbying, mining-rural, chinchilla-4413, toowoomba-4350

First posted January 22, 2013 09:41:47

Study uses mobile phones to measure rainfall

Dutch researchers say they have discovered a way to use mobile phone networks to measure rainfall.

Aart Overeem from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute decided to pursue a lower-cost alternative to rain measurement after the depletion of traditional rain gauges worldwide in recent years made the collection of accurate data difficult.

Mr Overeem said researchers had wondered whether they could use the microwave radio links that transmit mobile phone calls to measure rainfall.

“It had already been known for a long time that rainfall can influence the strength of the signal in telecommunication,” Mr Overeem said.

“For instance by the end of the ’90s, some colleagues of mine already had what you call a research link in which they showed that the signal gets weaker in case of rainfall,” he said.

“In case of a radio link, electromagnetic signals travel from the antenna of one telephone tower to the antenna of another telephone tower.

“When it starts raining the signal gets weaker, so the more rain droplets and the larger the size of the rain droplets, the larger the decrease in the received signal power that’s one end of such a microwave link.”

In a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mr Overeem conducted tests across 12 days before comparing the phone network data with rainfall data collected the old fashioned way.

“It appeared to be already quite accurate, although more research is probably needed to get reliable rainfall maps all year round.”

Once additional work is done, Mr Overeem said the new rainfall measurement technique could become widespread very quickly.

“For instance in Africa, people often have a mobile phone, there is an infrastructure, and there are some telecommunication networks, but the number of rain gauges is quite low,” he said.

“So particularly for those countries, it will be quite interesting.

“For other countries [that] do have weather radars, such as countries in Europe, the United States and Australia, this microwave link data could be interesting to adjust the radar rainfall images.”

He said weather radars, with their ability to provide detailed measurements over large areas, were very useful and could be used for managing the response to floods.

Researchers hoped the use of mobile phone data would receive approval by phone companies to make the information available.

Topics: telecommunications, science-and-technology, information-and-communication, netherlands

Activists doubt river gas study

The Lock the Gate Alliance has questioned the validity of a State Government investigation into gas seeping into a western Darling Downs river in the state’s south.

The report found the gas, which is bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River, near Chinchilla, does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.

The alliance says the gas is linked to nearby coal seam gas (CSG) wells.

Secretary Sarah Moles says the Government has a vested interest in the CSG industry and cannot be trusted.

“Affected landholders and people in the vicinity have very little or no confidence in the independence of the Government’s testing and the community should be involved in selecting a truly independent company or scientific organisation to undertake those tests so that everybody is confident,” she said.

She says the report’s findings are flawed.

“It seems inconsistent to be able to say there is no proof,” she said.

“I’d further add that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and if they continue to test, which is a good thing, then it seems premature to … claim that there are no risks.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, regional-development, environmental-impact, rivers, activism-and-lobbying, mining-rural, chinchilla-4413, toowoomba-4350

First posted January 22, 2013 09:41:47

Half of world’s food going to waste, study finds

Updated January 11, 2013 07:48:05

A new study has found that a staggering 50 per cent of the world’s food goes to waste.

The UK-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which carried out the study, says the waste is caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers, and consumer fussiness.

The report says half of the food purchased in Europe and the US is thrown away after it is bought.

Does the figure surprise you? How much food do you waste? Have your say

The Institution’s engineering director Dr Colin Brown says the issue of food wastage is increasingly important as the planet’s population heads towards a predicted 9.5 billion people.

“Somewhere between 30 and up to 50 per cent of all food is wasted between it being grown, being harvested, transported and eventually us eating it – in that whole process coming up to half of it doesn’t actually get eaten,” he said.

He says a more efficient food production and distribution system would provide enough food for the planet’s growing population.

“It’s a very positive report from that point of view,” he said.

“The population is only going to increase by another 3 billion or so people and if we could have 100 per cent efficiency in the way that we are creating food now, we would have enough food for all of those people.

“So it is positive in saying if we can solve these problems, then the world is large enough to feed these people.”

He says the wastage is “an economic as much as an engineering issue.”

“There are some engineering things we can do straight away. If you have a little allotment yourself and you grow crops, everything tends to crop at the same time. You get a glut of stuff and you wonder what on earth to do with it all. Commercial farmers are no different in that everything tends to come to ripeness at the same time. And so a lot of the waste comes from the fact that prices drop or it is easier for them to leave things in the field.”

He says that means much of the world’s food never even reaches a delivery truck, let along somebody’s stomach.

“In developing countries part of the issue is that the infrastructure isn’t there,” he said.

“The railways aren’t there, the chilling equipment to dry this stuff [isn't there], a lot of stuff goes rotten because it is hot and wet.

“So you’ve got to look at the way that we’ve got the engineering in place to capture this food. We do have techniques for canning food and we have techniques for preserving food. It would mean a lot of it would not get wasted in the way that it does now.”

The report says the issue of water is what Dr Brown calls a “pinch point”.

“We already use twice as much water for our agriculture as we use for all of our other human uses and so if we carry on using more in this way, we are going to run out of what is essentially drinking water,” he said.

“You can’t put a lot of salt water onto crops. It needs to be relatively good, pure water, and it is hugely wasteful. And unfortunately one of the realities is that the more meat that we eat, and meat is becoming more popular around the world as a food, the more water we have to put on for the same number of people.

“If you’ve got a real pinch on water, the last thing you want to do is try to raise cattle using water.”

Topics: food-and-beverage, food-processing, united-kingdom

First posted January 11, 2013 06:50:56

Pre-drinks study sparks call for bottle shop levy

Updated December 11, 2012 14:48:17

There are calls for bottle shop prices to be increased after a study found young people are fuelling up on alcohol before heading out so they can save money.

A tenth of people surveyed in the Deakin University study said they drank more than 11 standard drinks before reaching a venue, and some said they had as many as 25.

The study found that people who drank more than six drinks before leaving home had double the chance of being involved in a violent incident once they were out.

Lead author Peter Miller says many people told the researchers that they drank heavily before heading out in order to avoid high prices at pubs and clubs.

He says one possible solution is to make the practice less affordable by charging bottle shops a levy and increasing their prices.

“Currently all the very cheap liquor being sold from the very large packaged liquor outlets contributes to harm,” he said.

“But it doesn’t actually contribute to any of the measures that ameliorate that harm, such as the security, police out at night, people in emergency departments.

“And on the other side, when you raise the price of alcohol, you reduce consumption, particularly amongst people who are dependent and young people who have limited budgets.”

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund, Detective Inspector Tony Cooke, says the fund has commissioned more research into the impact of bottle shop sales.

“What is very concerning is the preloading – the drinking of alcohol before they get there,” he said.

Associate Professor Miller says a floor price would not achieve what a tax or levy on packaged liquor outlets could achieve.

“I think it’s very much about packaged liquor outlets paying up their fair share of the costs that they incur on society,” he said.

“I think it’s really important for people in the community to think about when they’re paying for alcohol, that’s not the only time they actually pay for alcohol.

“We pay for alcohol through our taxes, every time we have to wait for the police to turn up on a Saturday night or have to wait in an emergency department on a Saturday or Friday night.

“So we need the packaged liquor outlets to start contributing to the costs of the liquor they sell.”

The data was collected as part of Australia’s largest study into alcohol-related night-time crime, which compared approaches to licensing in Newcastle and Geelong.

Newcastle pubs are required to limit trading hours, cannot sell shots after 10pm and must limit the number of drinks being served at one time.

In Geelong the measures are voluntary, and include ID scanners, improved communication between venues and police, and an education campaign.

Associate Professor Miller says it is clear which one works better.

“You always get rogue traders and the bottom line always competes with responsible service of alcohol,” he said.

“We did over 130 venue observations in the 18-month period, and in the end the mandatory conditions worked and the voluntary ones just didn’t.”

Topics: alcohol, drug-use, health, regulation, business-economics-and-finance, hospitality, industry, retail, geelong-3220, nsw, vic, nt, australia

First posted December 11, 2012 12:54:51

Study finds FIFO workers unaware of entitlements

Updated December 11, 2012 14:00:46

A Perth-based psychology researcher says mine workers in central Queensland often feel their employers do not care about their wellbeing.

Murdoch University researcher Libby Price says of the 223 fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) miners surveyed for the study, most felt detached from their employer and less then half were aware of their employee assistance entitlements.

But she says support is available.

“Whether or not they’re aware of the support that’s available – EAP [employee assistance program] is an easy one – people found that their friends and family were the strongest supports anyway, so I think it’s just a case of educating people and letting them know,” she said.

She says there are several ways to improve the situation.

“I think education is one of the easiest things that an organisation can do,” she said.

“Having said that, I know some people who work really, really hard to educate people about the availability of an EAP and some people just don’t want to go.

“One of the biggest things that’s come out of this is that communication could so easily improve the situation with regards to that feeling of support.”

Topics: coal, medical-research, mining-rural, mining-industry, work, mental-health, moranbah-4744, gladstone-4680, rockhampton-4700

First posted December 11, 2012 10:58:43

$4m earmarked for Sunshine Coast light rail study

Posted December 03, 2012 10:17:01

Tenders are being called for a feasibility study for the $2 billion light rail project between Caloundra and Maroochydore on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast council has budgeted $4 million for the study, which will also present a business case.

Mayor Mark Jamieson says it is due to be completed by next June, followed by community consultation, with stage one to start by 2020.

“We’re working 20 years ahead here in terms of this whole project, but it would need to address population growth projections,” he said.

“Where the route would be, where the ideal hubs for the stations would be and all the elements that would be involved in building an effective business case for us to put to the State Government for their financial assistance.”

Topics: local-government, activism-and-lobbying, community-development, rail-transport, regional-development, caloundra-4551, maroochydore-4558

Single GCC tourism visa will boost visitor numbers — study

Manama: A single Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) entry visa will help boost the number of tourists in the region and will reinvigorate tourism as a sector, a study submitted to GCC officials has found.

“A study has been submitted to the Gulf Cooperation Council on adopting a single tourism visa,” Abdul Raheem Hassan Naqi, the secretary general of the of the GCC chambers unions, said. “The move will reinvigorate the tourism sector amid expectations that the GCC countries will invest around $380 billion [Dh1.395 billion] in tourism projects by 2018,” he said in remarks published by Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya on Sunday.

The study covers all aspects of the single visa and calls for allowing a tourist planning to visit one of the six GCC member states to move smoothly to other countries as well, he said.

“The GCC have the capabilities to implement the visa recommendations and the fact that $380 billion will be invested in tourism and related sectors should be an outstanding stimulus for other ministries and government agencies,” he said. “We understand the specificities of some countries, but we look at the overall benefits of Gulf tourism and its economic contributions to each of the member states. Tourism does remain a significant factor for local economies and employment and all efforts should be channelled into doing away with complications and attracting visitors.”

Article continues below

Al Naqi said the forthcoming tourism and investment conference in Fujairah on November 20-21 would be a good opportunity to discuss the ambitions of the private sector towards tourism in the Gulf countries. The GCC, founded in 1981 in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud last year called for the move from the phase on cooperation to the phase of union within a single entity. The GCC leaders will hold their next annual summit in Manama in December.

CSG study sparks renewed moratorium call

Updated November 15, 2012 11:43:49

The Greens are renewing calls for a moratorium on coal seam gas as new research raises doubts about the industry’s environmental credentials.

Scientists at the Southern Cross University monitored methane levels in the air and water around active gas fields in southern Queensland.

They found methane levels were much higher than those found in the Richmond Valley, where no coal seam gas extraction takes place.

New South Wales Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham says the industry should pause to allow further investigation of fugitive emissions.

“This blows a hole in the fundamental premise of those pushing coal seam gas, that it is a clean industry,” he said.

“This research clearly shows that there is a massive greenhouse-gas footprint from coal seam gas and we’re calling on the Federal Government to undertake serious research to get the the bottom of how much methane is actually leaking out of the ground.”

Southern Cross University researcher Damien Maher says there could be serious carbon-tax repercussions for the industry if methane is found to be leaking out of the soil on gas fields in large quantities.

“It’s a potent greenhouse gas, that’s how we’re looking at it in regards to coal seam gas production,” he said.

“So coal seam gas is 99 per cent methane, so we’re kind of using methane not only as a tracer for the potential leakage of other gases, but it’s also important in itself because it is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

“It could have a significant impact in terms of the carbon tax.

“We know there’s methane coming out, is it a little bit, is it a lot?

“They’re the questions that we’re starting to ask now.

“We’re putting cutting-edge atmospheric models together to try to calculate how much gas must be escaping to create those concentrations that we observed.”

The lobby group which represents the coal seam gas industry says it supports base data being gathered around extraction sites.

But Rick Wilkinson from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association says more work needs to be done before any conclusions can be drawn.

“We always welcome new research that looks at the industry from new angles and gives us new insight,” he said.

“But at this stage it’s very early days, it’s quite preliminary, and we’re yet to see where this all leads.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, greenhouse-gas, air-pollution, lismore-2480, tara-4421

First posted November 15, 2012 10:08:01

Study shows bank lending lags behind in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

PESHAWAR: A research report produced by the premier body of businessmen and traders, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI), shows that the share of bank advances in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has dropped from 2.89 to 1.49 percent over the last decade.

Former president KPCCI, Afan Aziz, who envisioned research on the energy and banking sectors, said that the report, which was prepared by the Research and Development (R&D) wing of the chamber revealed that banks in the province were aggressively mobilising deposits but shying away from extending advances. This non-availability of credit and other financial products to the private sector is said to have caused an irreversible economic slowdown in the province that was already struggling with the losses of the war on terror, he said.

Experts think that the fact that Aziz’s father is a former member of the board of directors of the State of Pakistan probably helped in securing the data for this report.

Aziz said the report titled, “The Economic Stagnation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Banking Perspective,“ shows that despite massive deposits, bank lending to the private sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has dropped from 25 to 13 percent in the last decade. There is a marked disparity in advances for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared with data for other provinces. This in turn has caused growth to slacken and caused economic stagnation in the province.

Referring to the report that has been rated as the first ever attempt to build a database regarding the province’s banking sector, Aziz said it revealed that the size of bank deposits in the country had experienced a massive surge during the last decade. Banks had a total deposit base of Rs1,309 billion in 2001 which gradually increased to Rs5,688 billion by 2011 – a more than fourfold increase.

The region-wise share in bank deposits between 2001 and 11 remained range-bound in case of Punjab and Sindh. Punjab had a market share of 43 percent whereas Sindh had a share of 34 percent in 2011. On the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a market share of eight percent in total bank deposits in 2001, which decreased to 6.6 percent in 2011 despite the fact that the deposits increased in absolute terms. Meanwhile, FATA’s share was miniscule and reflected as zero percent in the SBP statistics.

The bank deposits in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa increased from Rs101 billion in 2001 to Rs377 billion in 2011 – a 3.7 times overall increase. Comparatively, bank advances increased from Rs26 billion in 2001 to Rs49 billion in 2001 – indicating growth by 1.9 times of the original amount. This served to widen the gap in bank deposits and advances in the province. The share in deposits dropped from 2.89 percent to 1.49 percent during the same period, the report says.

The report also showed that provinces and region wise overall bank advances increased from Rs910 billion in 2001 to Rs3,310 billion in 2011 – an increase of almost 3.6 times. The bank advances in Punjab grew from Rs421 billion to Rs1,615 billion – an almost fourfold increase. In case of Sindh, bank advances rose from Rs403 billion in 2001 to Rs1,401 billion by 2001 – increase by almost 3.5 times. On the contrary, advances to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa experienced slow growth from Rs26 billion in 2001 to Rs49 billion in 2011 – less than twofold increase. Balochistan and FATA experienced a decline in bank advances between 2001 and 2011.

The share of the province and regions in bank advances reveals that Punjab‘s share rose from 46 percent in 2001 to 48.79 percent by 2011 whereas Islamabad‘s share grew from 4.47 percent in 2001 to 6.73 percent by 2011.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa‘s share declined from 2.89 percent in 2001 to 1.49 percent by 2011. The share in growth of bank advances from 2001 to 2011 confirms the above trend as Punjab got the maximum share in growth at 49.73 percent, followed by Sindh at 41.56 percent and Islamabad at 7.59 percent. This shows that 98.88 percent growth in bank advances from 2001 to 2011 was shared among these three provinces and regions, leaving a paltry 1.12 percent for other provinces to share among themselves.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a meager share in growth of bank advances at 0.96 percent between 2001 and 2011 whereas FATA had 0.01 percent share in growth during the same period. Similarly, Balochistan was edged out with an insignificant share in growth at 0.08 percent from 2001 to 2011.

Province wise advances – percent share and amount of growth (Dec 2001 to Dec 2011)

Bank advances to the private sector grew from Rs634 billion in 2001 to Rs2, 459 billion in 2011 – an increase of 287 percent. Bank advances to the private sector in Punjab increased from Rs317 billion in 2001 to Rs969 billion in 2011 – an almost threefold increase.

The size of bank advances to the private sector in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa increased from Rs16 billion in 2001 to Rs32 billion in 2001 – a twofold increase. In case of the FATA, the report says, the size of bank advances grew from Rs0.153 billion in 2001 to Rs0.280 billion by 2011.

The report shows that the size of personal bank advances increased from Rs32 billion to 89 billion for Punjab, Rs37 billion to 169 billion for Sindh and from Rs4 billion to Rs11 billion for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between 2001 and 2011. The Islamabad region had a share of Rs2.99 billion in 2001 that grew to Rs9.5 billion by 2011.

The shares of personal bank advances have undergone key changes in this period. Punjab had a share of 41 percent in 2001 which decreased to 31 percent. On the other hand, Sindh‘s share increased from 47 percent in 2001 to 59 percent by 2011. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa‘s share fell from 5.15 percent in 2001 to 4.01 percent in 2011. Similarly, FATA‘s share also fell from 0.10 percent in 2001 to a meager 0.5 percent in 2011.

However, Bilal Mustafa, managing director of the Bank of Khyber (BoK), the only public sector bank being operated by the provincial government, put even the negligible increase in the bank advances the other way. He said that banks had declared the province a No Go Area. While 60 percent of the BoK’s total lending was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Besides our other financing products, the provincial government has also initiated a number of loaning schemes through the BoK.

We have started loaning in the once-troubled Malakand, Swat and Chitral districts. Every day our finance committee meets and we finalise two to four cases a week. It has made a difference,” he said. “We don’t have any serious reservations about over clients,” he added.

However, Mustafa admitted that they faced problems in some regions but attributed the same to the “depressed economic situation which is a global phenomenon“. He hoped that the BoK advances portfolio would rise as its recovery rate was so encouraging.

Province / Region Percent Share

Dec-01 Dec-11

Punjab 46.32 48.79

Sindh 44.37 42.33

KPK 2.89 1.49

Balochistan 1.22 0.40

Gilgit Baltistan 0.07 0.03

Islamabad 4.47 6.73

FATA 0.03 0.01

AJK 0.63 0.22

Overall 100 100

Province/Region Deposits Increase Dec-11

Dec-01 Dec-11 Percent Amount

Punjab 552 2,437 43.04 1,885

Sindh 435 1,952 34.65 1,518

KPK 102 377 6.30 276

Balochistan 25 124 2.26 99

Gilgit Baltistan 3.3 15 0.27 12

Islamabad 137 598 10.52 461

FATA 4.4 11 0.16 7

AJK 51 174 2.80 123

Overall 1,309 5,688 100.00 4,379

Gas industry dismisses Qld LNG exports study

Updated October 18, 2012 14:21:47

The gas industry has rejected a report that says Queensland’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports will cause a downturn to the national economy.

The National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) compiled the report on the economy-wide impacts of the gas export boom in Gladstone in central Queensland.

The study warns Queensland’s booming LNG export industry could cost the rest of the economy dearly, because domestic gas supplies will reduce and the cost of gas and electricity will rise as a result.

It urges for a review of current gas export policies.

However, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) spokesman Rick Wilkinson says that is unfair.

“It’s as silly as having restaurants calling for farmers to have decreased food prices to support their industry,” he said.

Mr Wilkinson says LNG exports are important for economic growth.

“If we lose our competitive advantage in Australia, investments will move offshore,” he said.

He says current regulations are sufficient.

“There’s no-one being ‘shortfallen’ for gas at the moment, so it is very effective,” he said.

Curtin University researcher Roberto Aguilera says the overall economy should benefit from the gas export boom.

“Those high prices sow the seeds of their own destruction by bringing new supplies online bringing prices back down,” he said.

He says that will spur further investment in Australia’s gas sector and reduce gas prices in the long-term.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says there is no need for a major policy debate.

“There is no question that there is plenty of gas for both the domestic and the export market commitments,” Mr Seeney said.

“What our Government is determined to do is to make sure that the gas resources we have can be developed in a timely way, in a responsible way, to make sure all the market sectors have access to the energy source.”

Mr Seeney says it has become apparent over the last five to seven years that Queensland have an enormous gas resource.

“The coal seam gas supplies are quite an extraordinary resource,” he said.

“It’s about making that available to the market that ensures that everybody has the supplies that they require.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, federal—state-issues, activism-and-lobbying, community-development, regional-development, regional, gladstone-4680

First posted October 18, 2012 09:24:38

Harvard Business School selects Pakistani company for case study

KARACHI: The world’s most prestigious business school in the United States, Harvard Business School (HBS) has selected a Pakistani company, K&N’s, as a case study, according to a statement on Monday.

HBS faculty members select companies from around the world for a written account of a company focusing on strategic business issues, of interest to a global audience, which are then used for classroom discussions. HBS case studies are world renowned and not only used by HBS faculty but also by majority of leading business schools and universities around the world for teaching, it said.

Khalil Sattar, chief executive of K&N’s, said that it is not only a great honour for the company but also for Pakistani business community and the nation.“We faced different challenges but remained focused and committed to our motive, a single minded objective of providing better nutrition for health and happiness to the nation. This credit also goes to all employees of K&N’s,” he said.

K&N’s is greatly honoured with this achievement, as for any company, becoming a HBS case study is a great honour, he said. While felicitating K&N’s, Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) said that it is proud to have its founding member featured as a HBS case study as it is the only company from Pakistan to have been chosen by HBS to write the case study and use it in its executive education programmes.

This is also a great achievement as a very positive image of Pakistan will be reflected through the K&N’s case study reading and discussions by thought-leaders and key decision makers from the global food and agribusiness industry, and university students alike, around the world. The PPA recommended to the Punjab government and the government of Pakistan to honour K&N’s on this milestone achievement.

Pre-election stunt: Plan to freeze power tariff under study

Price may not be increa­sed before polls to win voter suppor­t. Price may not be increased before polls to win voter support. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID


As part of an election strategy to attract voters, the government is considering freezing the power tariff until the next general election is held, setting aside concerns of multilateral donors.

The government is following a comprehensive package to provide relief to the consumers before upcoming election by ending load-shedding, reducing gas prices and freezing power tariff, say government officials.

In this connection, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has already approved a new gas allocation policy aimed at maximising supply to power plants to overcome load-shedding.

The government has also made a massive reduction in gas prices by up to 51% for residential consumers for six months from July to December. Now, a plan is under consideration to keep power tariff unchanged for the time being.

This move runs contrary to the suggestion of donors like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank, who have been insisting on doing away with tariff subsidy. However, the government is inclined towards taking political decisions to avoid public criticism.

“The government does not want to increase electricity tariff before the general election in order to win sympathies of voters,” an official of the Ministry of Water and Power told The Express Tribune.

However, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) will continue to pass on the impact of international crude prices to the electricity consumers. The base tariff may not be increased.

At present, the gap between the cost of power production and the price being charged from the consumers is very wide at around 40%. Power is being produced at Rs11.89 per unit, but is being sold at Rs8.88 per unit, with the government paying Rs3.01 per unit to power producers as price differential claim.

The government claims that it is paying Rs20 billion in electricity subsidy every month due to the tariff differential, leading to piling up of inter-corporate debt, which stands at around Rs400 billion.

It is also to receive Rs69 billion from consumers on account of fuel price adjustment surcharges, but the issue is in litigation as courts have given stay orders in about 750,000 cases. In order to recover the money, the government is planning to appeal to the Supreme Court to club all these cases to settle them.

For the current fiscal year which started this month, an amount of Rs134 billion has been earmarked for subsidy to power consumers, excluding the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC).

“However, if the tariff is frozen, the subsidy will jump to around Rs250 billion for the year,” the water and power ministry official said, but added finance managers were hoping that they would be able to increase the tariff in a caretaker setup.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.

World oil prices: Plan under study to pass on full impact to consumers

Minist­ry wants to empowe­r OGRA to notify prices withou­t seekin­g approv­al. Ogra will not be able to cut petroleum levy on oil products if prices go up, so consumers will not enjoy any type of subsidy. PHOTO: FILE


A plan is under study to pass on full impact of global oil prices to consumers without making any cut in taxes in case world crude prices swell. In this connection, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) will be granted powers to notify prices without seeking any advice from the government.

The plan was tabled by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) last week. However, the proposal has not yet been approved, say officials.

Under the prevailing oil pricing mechanism, Ogra sends a summary to the petroleum and finance ministries, which then give a reply after approval of the prime minister, advising Ogra whether to increase or reduce prices, which may not be in line with fluctuations in the international market.

In the last financial year ended June, the government cut petroleum levy several times in order to provide a cushion to the consumers against high crude prices. These days, international crude prices are going downwards due to global recession and prices in the country are also falling because of a cap on petroleum levy.

“In the proposed mechanism for oil price revision, Ogra will not be able to cut petroleum levy on oil products if prices go up, so consumers will not enjoy any type of subsidy,” an official of the petroleum ministry said.

According to documents, the petroleum ministry proposed that an automatic oil price adjustment system may be introduced based on fluctuations in the international market. In this system, Ogra will monitor and notify prices based on the current petroleum levy without seeking any advice or approval from the government.

“However, Ogra will continue to provide a copy of the price revision to the petroleum ministry for its information,” the plan showed.

At present, on high octane blending component, the petroleum levy is Rs14 per litre, on motor spirit (petrol) Rs10, on high speed diesel Rs8, on kerosene Rs6 and on light diesel oil Rs3.

The petroleum ministry also asked the ECC to approve a shift from the fortnightly oil price revision to a weekly review, but the decision was deferred after Ogra warned that it would lead to oil shortage and overcharging consumers for petroleum products.

Ogra told the ECC that the regulator was receiving several complaints of oil shortage and overcharging after implementation of the fortnightly price review.

Earlier in the first week of April, the ECC had approved a summary of the petroleum ministry, proposing oil price review on a fortnightly basis instead of the monthly revision in the wake of continuous increase in the international crude market. The ministry came up with the plan following demands from oil refineries.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2012.