ISLAMABAD: Energy experts have recommended the government to include such terms and conditions in the shale policy framework that address the environmental aspects, provide improved fiscal incentives and promote investment in the unconventional energy sector.
Speaking at the concluding ceremony of the first-ever “International Conference on Unconventional Resources” on Tuesday, the participants strongly recommended the exploitation of shale and tight oil and gas resources in Pakistan.
The conference was organised by the NED University of Engineering and Technology and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology under the framework institutional cooperation programme of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform in collaboration with the Petroleum Institute of Pakistan.
The experts also called for undertaking pilot projects by state-owned companies, including Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), in collaboration with the Norwegian state oil company, Statoil, to evaluate the underground deposits and frame development strategies.
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Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the audience that OGDC and PPL had been tasked with launching a pilot project to drill shale oil and gas wells.
“Pakistan has great energy resources and consistent efforts are needed to exploit them,” he said and underlined the need for stepping up efforts to explore the conventional and unconventional resources to meet energy needs of the country.
Abbasi pointed out that Pakistan was facing a huge gap between demand and supply of energy as gas production stood at 4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) compared to demand for 8 bcfd. In the case of oil, the demand was seven to eight times higher than domestic production.
Outlining the steps taken to increase oil and gas exploration, the petroleum minister said a recent study had identified the presence of massive shale oil and gas resources in the country.
According to the study, Pakistan has reserves of 188 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas and 58 billion barrels of oil whereas the risked technically recoverable resources were 95 tcf of gas and 14 billion barrels of oil.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the government had set a goal to make Pakistan one of the top 25 economies of the world.
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To achieve the target, he stressed, uninterrupted energy supply was a must to all segments of the economy, therefore, the government was massively investing in energy resources.
“Our first priority was to address the power crisis and in three years (since coming to power in 2013) we have resolved almost half of the problem,” he said, adding the government was right on target to add another 10,000 megawatts to the national power grid by 2018.
Iqbal also talked about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying after completion of various projects under the programme Pakistan would become an economic hub of Asia.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2016.
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