20 new exploration blocks to be auctioned by year-end



The Petroleum Division of Energy Ministry is planning to hold open bidding for 20 more new oil and gas exploration blocks by the year end, aimed at making the country self-sufficient in the energy sector. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, during its first year in power, had awarded five new exploration blocks through a transparent bidding process, a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP recently. The government, he said, was also preparing a summary for creation of new oil and gas exploration block in potential areas of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan, which would be presented before the Council of Common Interests for approval.
Explaining the existing exploration licensing zones, he said the country had been divided into four zones, consisting of West Balochistan-Pishin-Potowar Basins, Kirthar, East Balochistan-Punjab platform-Suleman Basins, Lower Indus Basins and Indus & Makran Basins.
He said earlier the new zone was considered high security risk area, but now after the improved situation, these parts of the country were being added in potential hydrocarbon reserves under a sufficient security mechanism.
Answering a question, the official said currently the country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers, out of which 320, 741 KM or 39 percent of the area was under exploration.
He said it was a fact that multinational companies were least interested in oil and gas exploration sector due to non-discovery of any major hydrocarbon reserve since long. However, the country has 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.—APP

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