During the last five years, over two dozen oil and gas companies have spent around Rs. 400 billion in carrying out Exploration and Production (E&P) activities in different areas of Pakistan.
The main purpose of this extensive exploration and production was to increase the national hydrocarbon base.
According to official data available with APP, the following companies were part of the exploration programs:
- Dewan Petroleum,
- Eni Pakistan,
- MOL Pakistan,
- New Horizon,
- OMV Maurice,
- Saif Energy,
- Chian ZhenHua
As per the data, both the public and private sector firms utilized funds amounting to:
- Rs. 77.432 billion in 2013-14
- Rs. 91.722 billion in 2014-15
- Rs. 92.853 billion in 2015-16
- Rs. 67.974 billion in 2016-17
- Rs. 70.314 billion in 2017-18
During the five-year period, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and MOL Pakistan have collectively produced around 80.345 Million Barrel (MBL) oil and 700,885 Million Cubic Feet (MMCFT) gas from three districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The companies extracted 14.856 MBL oil from their respective Mardankhel, Maramzai, Nashpa, Manzalai, Makori Deep, Makori East, Makori, Chanda, Mela, Mamikhel, Tolanj and Tolang West fields of Hangu, Karak and Kohat districts in 2013-14.
The production from the given years is given below:
- 16.279 MBL oil in 2014-15
- 15.851 MBL oil in 2015-16
- 17.014 MBL oil in 2016-17
- 16.344 MBL oil in 2017-18
Similarly, the OGDCL and MOL Pakistan pulled out 700,885 MMCFT gas from their respective operational areas of the districts during the period under review.
The E&P firms produced:
- 135,129.02 MMCFT gas in 2013-14
- 131,207.15 MMCFT gas in 2014-15
- 139,255.21 MMCFT gas in 2015-16
- 144,116.48 MMCFT gas in 2016-17
- 151,177.59 MMCFT gas in 2017-18.
A senior official said that the government was pursuing a prudent strategy to step up oil and gas exploration activities in potential areas of the country. Under these, the Petroleum Division of Energy Ministry is planning to initiate the open bidding process for 27 newly identified exploration blocks in December this year. “The process will be completed in three rounds.”
The 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 official 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.
He further said that the country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers at present. Out of this 320,741 KM was under exploration.
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 a war-footing basis.