Pakistan planning purchase of shale gas reserves in US; adviser claims energy crisis will be controlled next year
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan announced on Tuesday the discovery of huge gas reserves in Sindh and sizeable oil find in the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, which will boost the country’s oil production by over 50 percent. Contrary to a series of bad news that has surrounded the energy sector for long, Dr Asim Hussain, Adviser to PM on Petroleum and Natural Resources, on Tuesday came up with the good news that a major discovery of gas, with a total size of gas reservoir of 300-400 billion cubic feet gas per day, had been made in Sindh and the country will have 30 million cubic feet gas per day (MMCFD).
Addressing a press briefing, he said that another reasonable discovery of oil had been made by the OGDCL from the Nashpa field in the KPK near Kohat. The total oil requirement of the country stands at 380,000 barrels per day of which domestic production accounts for 60,000 barrels per day. But with the Nashpa discovery, the country’s production will jack up to 90,000 to 100,000 barrels per day from the existing 60,000 barrels. This will also help reduce the oil import bill.
Dr Asim said that PSO (Pakistan State Oil) was going to install a refinery in the KPK to cater to the needs of the province and the Northern Areas, as Attock Refinery alone cannot cater to the ever-increasing upcountry requirements.
He also revealed that the PPL (Pakistan Petroleum Limited) had managed to get a block in Iraq for exploration and the Iraqi cabinet had accorded approval to the award of the block to the PPL. He said that Pakistan was also going to bid for a block in Afghanistan. “The government also intends to purchase shale gas reserves in the US to meet the country’s energy needs.”
The adviser said that the new gas reservoir, discovered in Bhadhra near Bhit gas field in Sindh, was the result of prudent policies of the government.
Dr Asim claimed that the energy crisis would be controlled by the fourth quarter of the next year, which will put the country on road to prosperity. He explained that one billion cubic feet gas would be injected into the system by the fourth quarter of the next year. The government, he said, in its petroleum policy for 2012 had increased the rates of gas for exploration and production companies to $6 per MMBTU from $4 per MMBTU in 2009. Because of the attractive rates, the companies which had stopped exploration and production activities in various blocks, had now started working again and positive results were on the cards.
Under the new policy, ENI, an international exploration and production company, has discovered huge gas reserves of 300-400 BCFD.
To a query, Dr Asim said that the country possesses gas reserves of 23 trillion cubic feet per day and according to international results, Pakistan has 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves for which the policy was being worked out.
He also disclosed that the country had 28 tcf reserves of low BTU gas and 20 tcf of tight gas reserves. “We will be able to recover low BTU gas from Zin bloc in Balochistan by next year and that will be injected into the power sector to produce electricity.”
He said about 50 blocks were ready for bidding under the newly-gazetted petroleum policy 2012 for exploration and production of oil and gas of which four blocks would be given to four countries under government-to-government arrangements.
“Of the four, one bloc has been dedicated to Kuwait, two to China and one is going to be allocated to Russia under government-to-government arrangements.”
About the TAPI gas line, Asim said that Pakistan wanted to swap gas from the Caspian gas field, which is being handled by PETRONAS till the development of Dulatabad gas field but Pakistan will have to consult India, which seems reluctant to accept the proposal.
About the gas crisis in the coming winter season, the adviser said that it was going to be tough but the government would manage it. He said that the exploration and production companies, which had intentionally capped their gas fields and did not work on them, would be penalised accordingly.
To a question, he said that circular debt in the energy sector stood at over Rs450 billion of which Rs380 billion debt belongs to the petroleum sector alone.