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May 19, 2019

Kekra-1 well found dry, work stopped

Top Story

May 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s biggest hope pinned on ultra-deep drilling in G-Bloc with 19 percent probabilities of gas reserves of over 9 trillion cubic feet has crashed, as Kekra-1 well has been found dry.

This was the 18th attempt in the G-Bloc to discover any oil or gas reserves. Earlier, 17 bids were made, but all failed.

The spud drilling activities had kicked off with $75-80 million by a joint venture with 25 percent share each. Italian company ENI is the well operator, with Exxon Mobile, OGDCL and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) sleeping partners.

Talking to The News, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, who was in transit to Turkmenistan, said, ‘’I am just told that the information is correct.’’

He said over $100 million had been spent on drilling but the endeavor proved futile.

When The News whatsapped some questions about the project to Secretary Petroleum Division Asad Hayatuddin and spokesman Additional Secretary Sher Afgan and also tried to reach them on their personal cellphone numbers, they opted to keep silent.

However, the ENI has informed Director General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) about the sad development.

Sources however say after drilling additional 150 meters, the ENI will drill further on Sunday (Sunday) in a last ditch effort.

However, after 150 more spudding the Drill Stem Test did not show the desired result confirming that the well had gone dry.

However, ENI may come up with a formal announcement to abandon the well within days.

About 17 wells were drilled in deep sea in the past, but all endeavors failed. The first offshore well was drilled in 1963 by the US company Sun Oil but it was found dry.

The same company in 1964 spud two wells in Pakistan’s deep sea but both were found dry. Then after a lapse of eight years, Winter Shall from Germany explored three wells in ultra-deep sea which later on abandoned the project, as nothing was discovered in the three wells. The Winter Shall also drilled two wells in 1972 and third one in 1975. Unfortunately, no oil and gas was discovered.

In 1976, Marathon Oil Company from US endeavored for drilling but nothing was discovered. In 1978, Husky Company from Canada also spud the well, but no success was met.

Then after seven years, it was OGDCL that spud the well in 1985 but again no discovery was made. Likewise, in 1989, Occidental Oil Company explored the well but that too failed. In 1992, Canterbury from New Zealand and in 1999-2000 Ocean company from US spud two wells but were found dry.

In 2004, French company TOTAL also explored one well but that was also abandoned.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited tried in 2005 and Shell from Netherlands endeavored in 2007 and Shark-1 went in 2010 for drilling in Pakistan’s deep sea but all went in vain.

During the fourth-months, Kekra-1 well drilling witnessed many upheavals. The last snag hit the drilling when the blowout preventer (BOP) that prevents from any blowout or any kick pressure that can result into eruption of fire, had gone out of order and its repair took some days and then its testing took a reasonable time.

Before it, drilling stopped on April 8 because of cementation and casing owing to which drilling could not start.