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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has confirmed recoverable reserves of around 200 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas and around 58 billion barrels of oil in its shale structure — many times larger than existing conventional gas reserves of around 20 TCF and 385 million barrels of oil.

This was stated by Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at a press conference held here on Thursday to explain main findings of a recently concluded Shale Gas Study based on actual data of existing wells.

“The conclusion (of the study) is that Pakistan has huge potential of shale gas and oil which is much bigger than previous estimates of the United States Energy Information Administration (USEIA) and technology is available at home to produce this resource,” he said.

Also read: Oil and gas reserves found in Mianwali

Mr Abbasi said the country had a massive potential of 10,159 TCF shale gas and 2.3tr barrels of oil. He said the USEIA had reported in April 2011 the presence of 206 TCF shale gas in lower Indus Basin out of which 51 TCF was termed technically recoverable.

However, in June 2013 the USEIA revised the shale gas resource in Pakistan at 586 TCF in place out of which 105 TCF was tipped as risked technically recoverable and also included 9.1bn barrels of shale oil risked technically recoverable out of 227bn barrels shale oil in place.

He said a shale gas study initiated in January 2014 with the support of USAID had been completed. It proved that Pakistan had 10,159 TCF of shale gas resource and 2,323bn barrels of shale oil.

He said the findings were reached when recoverable data of 1,611 wells were collected and shale formation of 1,312 wells through drill was examined. The study covered lower and middle Indus Basin, geographically spread over Sindh, southern Punjab and eastern Balochistan. He said 70 per cent of wells data were used to develop the study.

The minister said the samples were sent to New Tech Laboratory in Houston to verify shale gas and oil resource in place. The study confirmed that Pakistan had the potential of shale gas and oil which was more than expectations.

He said Pakistan had the technology for exploring conventional oil and gas that could be used for exploiting shale oil and gas. However, the country requires more technology for exploiting shale oil and gas resource on a larger scale. He said that real challenges were environmental issues, availability of water and higher cost of drilling. He said one well required 3-8m barrels of water.

Shale gas will cost $10 per Million British Thermal Unit. “We have assigned OGDCL and PPL to explore shale gas and oil from one well to determine cost of extracting them.”

Responding to a question, Mr Abbasi said the natural gas would be available only for domestic consumers in Punjab and even they would not get it between 10pm and 5am. The demand of gas in domestic sector in Punjab is about 950mmcfd, but supplies will be around 650 mmcfd and the difference would need to be met through pressure management.

He said the power plants and fertiliser units would be run on LNG. “CNG sector may also get LNG if supply is available,” he said, adding that captive power plants would also be switched to LNG.

In reply to another question, he said a transparent process had been followed in awarding LNG contract and all required information and record were provided to the National Accountability Bureau. “I have been engaged personally in process of LNG and, therefore, take full responsibility and am available for any questioning or accountability,” he said.

He said that a summary had also been moved to the Council of Common Interests to approve regulation of LPG prices to provide relief to consumers but the CCI had not met for 10 months.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2015