July 3, 2019: The government is preparing a summary for creation of new oil and gas exploration block in potential areas of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.
“The summary will be presented before the Council of Common Interests for approval,” a senior official in the Petroleum Division said on Wednesday.
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.
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.
Accordingly, the official said that the Petroleum Division had held open bidding for 10 exploration blocks in November last, out of which eight had been awarded to successful bidders so far, while another batch of 15-20 blocks was being planned for the bidding by end of this year.
Moreover, he said that 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.
The official said Marri Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) had planned to start seismic surveys in Zarghon and Block-28 at the earliest, from where a major discovery was expected. “Usually, a survey takes one-year time to complete as per international practice.”
He said the Block-28, covering the area of 5,856 sq.km Sibi, Loralai, Kohlu and Bolan, was granted in 1991, but remained under Force Majeure conditions due to non-issuance of security clearance.
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.
The official underlined the need for accelerating exploration activities in potential areas on war-footing, saying “The country’s energy demand is increasing and local production is decreasing. Therefore, our reliance on imported petroleum products is escalating with each passing day.”