The government has awarded five exploration blocks to the country’s largest oil and gas explorer; the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).
The company has made a minimum firm work commitment of $13.32 million for these blocks for a period of three years.
Companies are obligated to spend a minimum of $30,000/year in each block on social welfare schemes. Annual social welfare obligation in respect of these five blocks is $150,000.
The government of Pakistan executed Petroleum Concession Agreements (PCAs) and Exploration Licences (ELs) over block 3372-26 (Hazro), block 2972-7 (Vehari), block 2972-8 (Sutlej), block 2668-23 (Khewari East) and block 3471-1 (Nowshera) with OGDC.
Minister for Energy (Petroleum Division) Hammad Azhar stated that these efforts will bear fruit for the country in the form of additional hydrocarbon reserves during the next few years. The minister said that execution of the exploration licences and PCAs will not only enhance investment in the petroleum sector but will also contribute in bridging the energy demand and supply gap.
Hazro block covering an area of 653.74 sq kms is located in the district of Attock, Swabi, Haripur while Vehari block covering an area of 2487.28 sq kms is located in the district of Bahawalpur, Vehar and Lodhran and Sutlej block covering an area of 2312.56 sq kms is located in Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Vehari and Khanewal.
Khewari East covering an area of 1451.53 sq km is located in Khairpur district. Nowshera block covering an area of 1711.06 sq kms is located in Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera.
OGDCL is a public limited company and holds the largest share of oil at 41% and gas at 36% of the total reserves in the country. Its percentage share of total oil & gas production in Pakistan stands at 47% and 29%, respectively. OGDCL is the operator of 46 exploration licences and working interest owner in seven other exploration blocks operated by various E&P companies. During the last over a decade, there has not been any increase in gas production that stands at four billion cubic feet per day.
The bureaucratic style of Director General Petroleum Concession in the Petroleum Division had caused flight of several foreign companies.
A few companies like British Petroleum (BP) and Petronas Malaysia, along with some others, have left due to bureaucratic hurdles.
Officials say that low prices announced in Petroleum Policy 2001 were also one of the reasons that disappointed oil and gas exploration companies. Even some of the companies which explored oil and gas under the Petroleum Policy 2001 had faced National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. Before the 2001 policy, there had been major discovery of gas. However, there had been no main discovery under that policy.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2021.
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