January 18, 2019: After a study made startling revelations about fast depletion of existing hydrocarbon reservoirs in the country, the Petroleum Division has devised a strategy to reinvigorate oil and gas exploration activities by awarding more blocks and providing more incentives in both offshore and onshore drilling.
“On November 26, 2018, as many as 10 new exploration blocks have been awarded through open bidding and the same number of new blocks will be put up for the bidding during first quarter of 2019 – by March,” official sources said.
According to data of the recent study, they feared that the existing deposits would further deplete 60 percent by the year 2027 and underlined the need for stepping up exploration activities in potential areas on war-footing.
“The gap between demand and supply is widening with each passing day, increasing our reliance on imported petroleum products including gas,” the sources said.
During last five to six years, new exploration licenses had not been awarded despite the fact the existing reserves were depleting fast and the country needed some big discoveries.
Replying to a question, the sources said “currently around 72 cases with regard to exploration licenses are in litigation, even some are pending since 1989, due to flaws in the system.”
15 percent needs of the petroleum products were being met through local production, while 85 percent through imports, for which on average $ 18 billion per year were spent on import of petroleum products including gas, they added.
To reduce import bill and achieve self-sufficiency in the petroleum sector, a radical and innovative petroleum policy was being worked out to attract local and foreign companies for investment in onshore and offshore exploration ventures in potential areas. The new policy would be finalized, keeping in view future needs of power and industrial sectors, they said.
Besides, they said a mega oil city, consisting of an oil refinery and petrochemical complex, was being set up at the Gwadar deep seaport city in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, while world leading companies Exxon Mobile and ENI had already started offshore drilling in the Indus-G block.