Over two dozen oil and gas companies, operating in different areas of the country, have spent around Rs 400 billion in carrying out Exploration and Production (E&P) activities to increase the national hydrocarbon base during the last five years.
The companies including Dewan Petroleum, Eni Pakistan, Hycarbex, MOL Pakistan, MPCL, Al-Haj, Nativus, New Horizon, OGDCL, OGIL, Tallahassee, OMV, OPL, PAIGE, OMV Maurice, PEL, POL, POGC, PPL,KPBV, RDC, Saif Energy, Tullow, UEPL and Chian ZhenHua incurred billions of rupees under their respective “exploration licences/mining/ drilling & production leases,” according to official data available with APP. 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 and Rs 70.314 billion in 2017-18 for E&P activities.
Meanwhile, another official document showed that 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) during the five-year period.
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. While, they produced 16.279 MBL oil, 15.851 MBL oil, 17.014 MBL oil and 16.344 MBL oil from the same fields during the years 014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
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, 131,207.15 MMCFT gas, 139,255.21 MMCFT gas, 144,116.48 MMCFT gas and 151,177.59 MMCFT gas during the years 2013-14,2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 respectively.
A senior official told APP that the government was pursuing a prudent strategy to step up oil and gas exploration activities in potential areas of the country. Under which, 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 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 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. 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.
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.—APP