July 04, 2019: Oil and gas Exploration and Production (E&P) companies received 571 licenses during last 71 years and drilled 2,366 exploratory and appraisal/development wells, yielding around 330 discoveries.
According to official data about the country's exploration history in oil and gas sector, as many as 40 licenses were awarded to E&P companies in first ten years of Pakistan’s inception from 1947-57. The companies drilled 21 exploratory and 22 appraisal/development wells.
During the period 1957-67, as many as 60 licenses were granted under which the companies drilled 74 exploratory and appraisal/development wells.
Around 51 permits were issued from 1967-77 and E&P companies drilled 30 exploratory and 26 appraisal/development wells.
From 1977 to 1987, as many as 29 licenses were awarded and the companies spud 84 exploratory and 230 appraisal/development wells.
During the period from 1987-97, around 126 licenses were granted and the companies drilled 205 exploratory wells and 255 appraisal/development wells.
As many as 170 licenses were issued from 1997-2007 and the companies spud 241 exploratory and 383 appraisal/development.
In the period 2007-2018, around 95 licenses were granted and the companies drilled 381 exploratory and 514 appraisal/development wells.
Meanwhile, a senior official in the Petroleum Division said that the incumbent government was pursuing an effective strategy to step up oil and gas exploration activities in potential areas.
Since long, he said, the country could not find any major oil or gas discovery, which was causing fast-depletion of existing reserves, while ever-increasing energy needs of the country were being met through import of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), terming them instant but temporary solution.
He said the country was facing shortage of around three to six billion cubic feet gas per day (BCFD), which was being met through imported gas. Existing gas production is less than four BCFD.
With an aim to accelerate exploratory efforts, he said, the government was planning to create a new exploration zone in potential areas of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.
Currently, he said, the country had been divided into four exploration licensing zones, consisting of West Balochistan-Pishin-Potowar Basins, Kirthar, East Balochistan-Punjab platform-Suleman Basins, Lower Indus Basins and Indus & Makran Basins.
The country’s total existing sedimentary area is around 827,268 square kilometers (KM2), out of which 320, 741 KM or 39 percent of the area is under exploration.