ISLAMABAD: Oil and Gas Development Company’s (OGDC) board of directors chairman has unveiled a strategy for enhancing oil and gas production in a bid to lessen reliance on energy imports and cut a hefty import bill.
“We will focus on three key areas which include production, strategy and talent to increase growth and double earnings of the company,” said newly appointed Board Chairman Dr Qamar J Sharif while talking to a select group of journalists.
Sharif, a petroleum engineering specialist who has worked in world-renowned companies like Shell and Saudi Aramco, emphasised that they would back the company management in exploring more hydrocarbon-bearing wells. “We will focus on exploration of oil and gas by forming joint ventures with foreign companies in order to attract foreign investment in exploration,” he said, adding that the company would also frame a strategy for exploiting shale gas reserves in Pakistan.
Citing the example of US, he said, “America became a major oil producer and exporter after shifting focus to shale gas in the country; OGDC will also invest in shale gas.”
He called for tapping the potential as exploration and production (E&P) companies were meeting only 10% of the fuel consumption needs of Pakistan. “We are far behind many countries where oil production is between 350,000 and 500,000 barrels per day (bpd),” he said.
Responding to a question, the board chairman suggested that the government should give more incentives in order to encourage foreign E&P companies to engage in drilling wells in Pakistan.
He pointed out that E&P companies were required to bear an extra cost of drilling in Pakistan as compared to other energy-rich countries. “In Pakistan, the drilling of a well takes a month as opposed to other countries where it takes usually 10 to 15 days,” he revealed.
The cost of drilling in Pakistan was much higher but at the same time the success ratio of oil and gas discovery was equally higher, he said. “The success ratio in Pakistan is one out of three drilled wells contrary to other countries where the ratio is one out of 10 wells.”
He disclosed that the success rate of ExxonMobil was 20% in offshore drilling, adding people should wait for the results as seismic survey of the Karachi-Hyderabad belt was very promising. ExxonMobil is drilling in the deep sea in Karachi where Shell spent $100 million on drilling in 2006. He declared that the OGDC board would support divestment of the company if the government took any decision as a major shareholder.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2019.