– File photo by Reuters
– File photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD, Jan 8: The Pakistan Petroleum Limited, in collaboration with ENI, a foreign exploratory firm, is set to start drilling of a well in the Arabian Sea along Pakistani waters for discovery of oil.

The PPL has acquired exploration rights in a block located at 100km from Baghdad for oil exploration and it is hopeful about discovery of oil.

In a briefing to Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources at the Parliament House, the PPL MD, Asif Murtaza, informed that drilling of exploratory well has already started in the block acquired in Iraq and there are bright chances of oil discovery.

In case of major success, the Pakistani company would benefit. The company is already working in Yemen on two blocks.

Regarding previous attempts made by the company to find oil from the sea, off Pakistani coast, the PPL MD informed the committee that in Mekran deep sea, some 12 exploration wells were drilled, but none succeeded.

The committee, which met with Senator Mohammad Yousuf in the chair, was informed that many foreign exploration companies still have interest in drilling of exploration well in Mekran Deep Sea. However, drilling has been delayed for one year due to various reasons.

Additional Secretary of Petroleum Naeem Malik informed the committee that drilling of an exploration well in deep-sea requires at least $100 million investment and foreign companies take decisions with due care.

The federal government recently announced new exploration incentives and the companies which would make first three discoveries in deep-sea would be given extra benefits with incentives to encourage more companies to come forward. The PPL MD informed that PPL is working in Zandan Block (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and is planning to acquire five more blocks in KPK as Tal Block area has great potential of discoveries.

To exploit un-conventional gas reserves in the country, some seven exploratory wells, eight appraisal wells, and 19 development wells have been planned in the next five years and the expected outcome would be 150bcf shale and tight gas production in the country.

He informed that shale gas and tight gas price approval has been sought from the regulator to speed up exploration activity. He further informed that some seven pilot projects have been planned for exploration of shale and tight gas reserves. He further informed that in Kirthar block, one exploratory well Rahman-1 is under way.

He informed that Hala, Kotri, Notari North, Jangshahi, Gambat and South blocks are potential areas for discovery of shale and tight gas reserves.

The committee was informed that PPL has geared up its seismic survey in the country and some 780sq kms were surveyed in 2011-12, while during the current fiscal year, some 1,400sq km have been surveyed.During the meeting, it was informed that District Kohlu (Balochistan) has huge gas reserves and due to law and order situation, exploration companies do not go there.

The committee was informed that the federal government was collecting 12.5 per cent royalty on gas production and the entire amount is transferred to provinces and if any provincial government is not spending the amount on welfare of its population or in the relevant district, where oil and gas have been found, it is their internal issue.

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