ISLAMABAD – A highly skilled team, consisting of over 200 professionals, is working day and night at state-of-the-art drill ship in ultra-deep waters to assess hydrocarbon reserves at the Indus G-Block called Kekra-I well some 230-km South West of the Karachi coast. “The companies will be able to collect specimens in March or April for further lab examination in America and Italy, following which the picture will get clear that the well contains gas or oil and in what quantity,” official sources told APP.
A consortium of Exxon Mobil, ENI, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited is carrying out the exploration work with an estimated cost of US $ 75 million. The well’s diameter is 18 to 24 inches and the companies have set the target depth of 5,500 feet, they sources said, adding that the discovery was anticipated to yield gas flows which could be ‘as big as Sui field,’ with estimated reserves of three to eight trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 25-40 percent of the country’s total gas reserves.
The offshore exploration has become a ray of hope for energy scarce nation, which is anxiously waiting for a good news about confirmation of gas and oil deposits.
Experts believe that there are massive hydrocarbon reserves, sufficient for 25 to 30-year needs of the country, if proven, for which the government brought world leading companies in Pakistan to try its luck in offshore explorations.
They said the government was committed to extending all possible facilities to the companies interested in carrying out offshore drilling activities as the country was in dire need of a major gas and oil discovery.
Although, the sources said, a number of local and foreign Exploration and Production (E&P) companies were operating in different potential areas for years but could not find significant reserves matching the country’s requirements.
While, existing reserves are depleting gradually, they added.
To encourage offshore exploration activities, they said, the government had exempted additional customs duty on import of offshore drilling equipment to tap unexplored hydrocarbon reserves in the country.
“In future, there will be clearance of vessels, drill ships and helicopters without any levy, duty or charges whatsoever including customs duty. This dispensation is extended to all companies and joint venture partners who are party to any Production Sharing Agreement with the government for offshore petroleum exploration and production activities,” the sources said.