FAISALABAD: Pakistan is producing only 96,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd), far lower than its demand for 400,000 bpd, which can mostly be met by energy-rich Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) that has huge hydrocarbon reserves, says a high official of the province’s energy company.
“Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.1 billion barrels of oil,” disclosed Nouman Akbar, Director General Human Resources, Corporate Affairs and Marketing of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL).
Speaking to members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), he said K-P was catering to 57% of Pakistan’s crude oil production and contributing 15% to the demand for natural gas. In addition to these, it accounts for 25% of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) production in the country.
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Akbar said KPOGCL had been set up to step up work and explore the untapped oil and gas resources in order to make Pakistan self-reliant in energy production.
The government has allocated five blocks to the company, of which exploration work on the Lucky block is in full swing. “The Potohar region is rich in hydrocarbon resources and in many cases gas is oozing out of the soil,” he said.
Similarly, shallow digging also leads to the discovery of oil reserves. At least, 26 spots had been identified where oil and gas reserves were present in abundance and Akbar emphasised that efforts should be expedited in collaboration with the private sector to tap the resources.
He was of the view that at least $110 million were required from the private sector for development of the five exploration blocks. The amount could be made available in the form of shares, which could also be purchased by small investors, he said.
The K-P government has finished geological mapping of the province and is setting up a technical testing laboratory in Peshawar in a bid to conduct analysis of the soil data collected from various sites.
Earlier, soil samples were sent to laboratories of other countries that charged a fee in dollars, but now these tests could be conducted in the country with a nominal fee.
“Plans are also on the cards to establish a most modern refinery for the processing of crude oil. This refinery, expected to be operational within four years, will be able to cater to the needs of the country,” Akbar said.
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Responding to a question about the safety of investment, he suggested that a separate fund management company could be created to address the financial issues.
He pointed out that exploration work was going on at a slow pace because of the lethargic licensing and taxation processes.
Listing them among the most discouraging factors, he suggested that all provinces should make a collective representation to the federal government, proposing the abolition of tax at the initial stage of geological surveys and drilling.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2017.
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