PTI government unveils massive plan for oil and gas exploration across country

PTI government unveils massive plan for oil and gas exploration across country

ISLAMABAD - Petroleum Division of the Energy Ministry is finalizing arrangements to initiate a three-round bidding process for award of around 35 new oil and gas exploration blocks in December, which would be completed during next 12 months.

“As many as 10-12 blocks will be put up for the open bidding in each round that will be held in next month, upcoming summer season and December 2020,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

For the purpose, he said road shows had been arranged in Canada and America, besides “Our teams visited Russia. Now, we are planning to visit Middle Eastern countries in the coming days.” He said Chinese investors were also being attracted to participate in oil and gas exploration activities in Pakistan.

Determined to achieve self-sufficiency in oil and gas sector, the official said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, during its first year in power, had awarded five new exploration blocks through a transparent bidding process, whereas the previous government did not award even a single block during its five-year term.

He said the government had made some policy changes to facilitate new companies in the E&P sector, abolishing 10 unnecessary steps, out of 24-30, required for getting approval to start drilling activities in potential areas.

Replying to a question, he said currently the country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers, out of which 320, 741 KM was under exploration.

The official said the country had sufficient potential in different sedimentary pockets, but it needed a more robust strategy to explore it.

To another question, he said oil and gas Exploration and Production (E&P) companies were planning to start work on some exploration blocks, which faced delay due to security issues in different areas of Balochistan, to find new hydrocarbon deposits and meet ever-growing energy needs of the country.

He said Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) on basis of satellite images had completed in-house geological mapping of the Kohlu Block, covering an area of 2459.1 square-kilometer in districts of Kohlu, Barkhan and Dera Bugti.

While, efforts are underway to perform geological field work and 2D seismic data acquisition in the block pending since 2004, which will complete in eight to ten months, he added.

The official said Marri Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) had planned to start seismic surveys in Zarghon and Block-28 at the earliest, from where a major discovery was expected. “Usually, a survey takes one-year time to complete as per international practice.”

He said the Block-28, covering the area of 5,856 Sibi, Loralai, Kohlu and Bolan, was granted in 1991, but remained under Force Majeure conditions due to non issuance of security clearance.

Quoting a recent study about fast depletion of existing hydrocarbon reservoirs in the country, he feared that the deposits would further deplete by 60 percent by the year 2027 and underlined the need for accelerating exploration activities in potential areas on war-footing.