Shale oil, gas exploration


OIL and Gas Development Company (OGDC), a state-owned hydrocarbon exploration company, is set to begin drilling for shale oil and gas reserves in the Kunnar Pasakhi field in Hyderabad district in December this year. According to the OGDC officials, this will be a pilot project and the Company will press on with the project after meeting environmental and safety standards.
The country is currently faced with serious energy shortage and heavily dependent on imported fuel to meet the domestic and industrial demand. The fact of the matter is that domestic natural gas production has been stagnant since year 2000 and no new big discovery has been made since then. The country had so far been banking on conventional oil and gas drilling but efforts to explore shale oil and gas definitely are expected to give a boost to energy supplies. Everybody knows how the shale has transformed the US’ energy fortunes, making it self-sufficient for the next one hundred years. With the discovery of huge shale gas reserves, the US has become a gas exporting country. Pakistan is also ranked 9th in the world with respect to shale oil and gas potential. A study carried out by the USAID four years ago had revealed the presence of 95 trillion cubic feet gas and 14 billion barrels oil technically recoverable in Indus Basin whilst the study for other parts of the country is yet to be made. Given the increasing energy requirements, we cannot afford to waste any more time and we expect that the government will give due focus to the exploration of this shale oil and gas to become self-sufficient in energy. This will not only reduce burden on our foreign exchange reserves but also help change the fortunes of the country in economic terms by provision of cheap energy to the domestic and industrial consumers. Then we should not be deterred from the recent failure in offshore drilling. Though it is an expensive business yet we must encourage the foreign companies to invest in it. More attempts should be made as one should not forget that our neighbouring India found offshore reserves after almost forty attempts.

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