The 1,180MW Bhikki Power project broke ground in October 2015. Image courtesy of Harbin Electrical International.
Bhikki combined-cycle power plant is built in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Image courtesy of Harbin Electrical International.
Harbin Electric International was the EPC contractor for the Bhikki power project. Image courtesy of Harbin Electrical International.
Bhikki natural gas power plant uses two GE 9HA gas turbines. Image courtesy of GE.

The 1,180MW Bhikki combined-cycle power plant is a re-gasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG)-based power plant located near Sheikhupura, about 60km west of Lahore in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

The plant is owned and operated by Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Limited (QATPL), a wholly-owned company of the provincial government of Punjab, Pakistan. It was developed with an investment of $919.8m.

Bhikki is one of the three major RLNG-fired power projects built in Punjab province between 2015 and 2018, in line with Pakistan’s 2015 Power Policy to fast track power generation to bridge the estimated 6GW demand-supply gap in the country.

The other two power stations are 1,230MW Haveli Bahadur Shah and 1,223MW Balloki combined-cycle plants developed by National Power Parks Management Company Limited (NPPMCL), another state-owned company.

The plant is expected to operate for 30 years and will generate enough electricity to power approximately 2.4 million Pakistani homes.

Bhikki combined-cycle power plant make-up

Built on a 29-acre site adjacent to Qadirabad-Balloki Link (QBL) canal, the 1.18GW Bhikki combined-cycle power plant comprises two GE H-class 9HA.01 gas turbines, two Alstom-engineered heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) and one Alstom-engineered steam turbine from GE.

Other facilities of the power station include a primary re-gasified liquid natural gas fuel system, a secondary diesel fuel system, water-cooled condensers, and a cooling tower.

The power plant uses water from the adjacent QBL canal for cooling.

Bhikki power plant turbine details

The GE 9HA.01 air-cool gas turbines used at the Bhikki power plant have a net combined-cycle efficiency of more than 64%, promising clean and reliable fuel to electricity conversion at lower cost.

The simple cycle output of the turbines range between 446MW and 557MW.

The GE 9HA turbine takes 12 minutes to ramp up to full load with a ramping capacity of 70MW per minute in 1 x 1 configuration and 140MW per minute in 2×1 configuration.

The 9HA gas turbine had passed off-grid, full-speed and full-load validation testing at GE’s Greenville manufacturing facility in South Carolina, US, in January 2015.

Gas supply for the Pakistani power plant

Bhikki is one of the first power stations in Pakistan to run on imported LNG.

The RLNG for the power plant is supplied by state-owned Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) through an 18km spur gas pipeline connected with SNGPL’s Qilla Sattar Shah to Bhikki pipeline.

Power purchase and transmission

The electricity generated at Bhikki combined-cycle power plant is purchased by Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) of Pakistan, under an agreement between QATPL and CPPA signed in July 2016.

Bhikki power station feeds electricity to the national grid through a 2km 500KV transmission line connecting the nearest grid station at Gatti in Sheikhupura district.

Financing for Bhikki power project

The $919.8m power project was financed through 75% debt and 25% equity.

The debt facility was provided by a group of local bankers led by Habib Bank and National Bank of Pakistan. The Government of Punjab provided equity financing for the project.

Contractors involved

Harbin Electric International Company, based in China, was awarded the turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract worth $539.26m for the Bhikki power plant in September 2015.

GE was the supplier of turbines and generators for the combined-cycle power plant. Flenco was subcontracted by GE to supply auxiliary systems for the plant.

Habib Rafiq, a company based in Pakistan, provided construction and civil engineering services for the 1,180MW power facility.

National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) and Lahmeyer International provided consultancy services covering project procurement, design review and implementation advisory services for the project.