Pakistan’s first gas field was found in 1952 in Balochistan and the commercial exploitation of the field began in 1955. Sui gas field accounts for a quarter of Pakistan’s gas production. The exploration activities went on and gas was discovered in all four provinces of our dear homeland. Whenever discussion breaks out anywhere in any circle, it is said that Pakistan is blessed with abundant gas reserves, however, no serious efforts have been made so far for exploration. Not to speak of Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) are the provinces where abundant reserves are available.
Let me share my experience as a journalist with around two decades of experience. I was in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa last year. I spent around 42 days in Karak, Bannu, Lucky Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Kohat. It was a great visit since I learnt a lot about the province, however, the most alluring point for me was the huge energy reserves in Karak. A resident of Karak, Danish Khattak, gave me briefing about the gas reserves and told me that all the residents of Karak get gas free of cost and the pressure of gas in Karak is pretty intense. Danish Khattak was proud of his district and revealed to me that the residents feel blessed and hope that the district would have a lot of economic prosperity in the days to come. Danish Khattak told me that the literacy rate of Karak, an energy district of KPK, is over 95%.
Now let’s look at some of the exploration activities. We have witnessed myriad of times that exploration activities are being carried out in all provinces. The state-run Oil and Gas Development Company Limited announced discovery of new reserves in Karak district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in September 2012 and claimed that it would boost its daily oil output by about 8 percent.
In February 2010, Oil & Gas Development Company Limited discovered new reserves of gas in Hyderabad, Sindh. It was claimed at least 15.4 cubic feet gas per day would be produced.
In December, 2012, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited discovered gas from the exploratory well Suleman-01, located in District Khairpur, Sindh. The structure of Suleman-01 was drilled down to the depth of 4,575 metres and the well successfully recorded flows at 20mmcfd.
In June 2016, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited discovered gas in its exploratory well Thal West 01 located in Sukkur district of Sindh.
In February 2011, Pakistan approved a new tight gas exploration policy with improved incentives as compared with its 2009 policy to overcome the country’s gas shortfall and attract foreign investment. Under that policy, exploration companies were offered 40-50% higher prices for the gas compared with the $4.26/Btu price announced in Exploration and Production Policy 2009. It was declared that the companies which succeeded in recovering gas from tight fields within two years would get 50% hike over the 2009 price.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), Pakistan may have over 105 trillion cubic feet in shale oil and natural gas reserves.
It is always good to take advantage from the expertise of those who have made a mark. OGDCL owns the largest number of recoverable hydrocarbon reserves in the country accounting for around 60 percent of oil and nearly 40 percent of gas. OGDCL and Hungarian MOL Group have a joint venture in Tal block, which is an oil and gas field located in Kohat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Polish Oil & Gas Company opened its Pakistan Branch Office in Islamabad in September 1997 for oil & gas exploration in Pakistan. It was granted three Concession Areas in Pakistan during 1997-98 for Oil & Gas Exploration. They were Khanpur West and Sabzal in District Rahimyar Khan in Punjab province and Mekhtar, District Loralai of Balochistan province.
PAGE had interaction with some residents of Tharparkar disctrict of Sindh regarding the energy reserves of Sindh. They all felt blessed that their district has vast resources of energy.
Let’s look at an activity of Oil India regarding huge gas reserves in Rajasthan desert. State-owned Oil India discovered huge deposits of hydrocarbons in Baghewala in Jaisalmer in the Thar desert. The search for gas in the Thar desert yielded good results. The exploratory discovery was made in 1988 in the Tanot area. Subsequently, gas fields were discovered at Dandewala and Bagittiba by Oil India.
In addition to exploration, import of gas may play a crucial role as well. The long-awaited mega gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project was inaugurated last week. This1,840 kilometre pipeline would cost $8 billion. TAPI would provide Pakistan the much needed gas security, as it would help meet 10 percent of Pakistan’s energy needs, 20 percent of its natural gas requirements.
It is the need of the hour that exploratory work should be expedited so that industry may get inexpensive energy to be competitive in the world market which in turn would help the economy of Pakistan grow.