Pakistan may tap US gas reserves to quench energy thirst

Published: October 3, 2012
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“The government is also looking for exploration activities in Afghanistan, Morocco and the US,” says Dr Asim hussain. PHOTO: PID/FILE

“The government is also looking for exploration activities in Afghanistan, Morocco and the US,” says Dr Asim hussain. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain has revealed that the government is mulling purchasing a shale gas field in the United States in an effort to tap a cheaper source of energy to meet growing needs of Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Hussain said huge reserves of shale gas had been discovered in the US, “therefore, we are considering investing in a shale gas field to ensure gas supply to Pakistan.”

Discussing Pakistan Petroleum Limited’s (PPL) interest in Iraq, he stressed that the company would explore oil and gas reserves there as the Iraqi cabinet had approved the award of a block to PPL, which it had won in bidding.

“The government is also looking for exploration activities in Afghanistan, Morocco and the US,” he said.

Hussain said the government had planned to add one billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd) from local sources by the fourth quarter of next year.

In addition to this, the petroleum ministry has sent a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, proposing import of 1 bcfd of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In this programme, 200 mmcfd of LNG will be imported on fast track and 800 mmcfd will be purchased under long-term arrangements.

Acknowledging that winter this year would be tough in terms of gas shortfall, Hussain stressed that the shortage would be manageable through implementing a load management programme.

He claimed that the gas shortfall would come to an end in two years as the government was making all possible efforts to overcome the crisis.

Following the approval of Petroleum Policy 2012, he said, gas exploration and production companies had accelerated their activities. ENI has discovered reserves of 300 to 400 billion cubic feet and 30 mmcfd will flow every day from this point.

Hussain said the government had cancelled licences of four blocks, which were not performing well and exploration work there was poor. On the other hand, 52 blocks have been auctioned in the last four years.

The Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) will explore 36 wells in a year and oil production is expected to increase to 100,000 barrels per day by April next year.

In order to highlight incentives in the new policy and attract investment in oil and gas exploration, the government has planned to conduct road shows in different places including Dubai, London and Houston.

Talking about Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project, Hussain said negotiations were going on and soon things would be settled.

He also said Pakistan State Oil (PSO) would set up an oil refinery in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

PML-N proposal rejected

Hussain rejected a suggestion from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that oil prices should be revised once in a month in order
to provide relief to the consumers, terming it an attempt “to put Pakistan into darkness”.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of PML-N had stated in the house that they would move a resolution for replacing the current weekly review of oil prices with a monthly review.

However, Hussain declared that the government would not change the current mechanism, arguing all over the world fuel prices were revised every day.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • USMAN786
    Oct 3, 2012 - 8:50AM

    ok, change fuel prices daily bcz yesterday there was fuel shortage in markets since they did not place orders for fear of lower prices in this week to avoid loss

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  • realist
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:08AM

    Does that mean you are done burning american flags?

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  • just_someone
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:47AM

    hahahha, hahahha. hahahaha, hahahhaha
    (They cant get the plenty full gas in Pakistan yet they think they can get it from the US and send it to Pakistan. I have to stop typing because this is just hilarious and my stomach hurts)

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  • Oct 3, 2012 - 10:28AM

    Why buy a shale gas field in US when Pakistan itself has over 50 trillion cubic feet of shale gas reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates. It’s enough to energize Pakistani homes, businesses, power plants, CNG vehicles, fertilizer plants and factories for 25 years at a rate of 2 trillion cubic feet of consumption per year at half the currently agreed price of imported gas from Iran, an agreement the US strongly opposes. It will also save Pakistanis hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign exchange. Recommend

  • Abreez
    Oct 3, 2012 - 11:47AM

    Well done, very well done, bureaucracy is an art to make possible impossible.

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  • Affan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 3:29PM

    hahahahah… US is arnd 12000 kilometer away… how we transport this gas… pipeline… we cnt build from iran and thinking it to build from US… convert to LNG and thn to Pakistan… do u know how much it cost.. better to buy from qatar… Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 5:54PM

    Reminds of the time that PPL drilled a well near Rawat which turned up dry but they kept on drilling, and spent millions of dollars in the process, in order to set a record for deepest well in Asia. If these people are given the opportunity to squander money, they will do so without any qualms and the government or taxpayer actually, will be left footing the bill. And this is before the bidding process, where they will overbid and pocket huge kickbacks and/or award the contract to a relative/crony who runs a shell company registered in some offshore haven. Yes, I know all these people who sell themselves for a case of whiskey from a multinational company.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Oct 3, 2012 - 7:58PM

    Proposal makes little sense – extracting gas from shale is something you have no experience in and even the experts in the USA are running into environmental issues. It would make more economic sense to enter into long term purchase agreement for natural gas – something the USA already offered as a better economic alternative to the IP. I

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  • Logistics
    Oct 3, 2012 - 8:22PM

    Radical solution- abolish the Ministry of Petroleum, privatize state entities, remove regulation, let private sector import as much energy as required. Poof.. energy crisis over!

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  • Logistics
    Oct 3, 2012 - 8:24PM

    Its a governance issue, not a energy issue.

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  • Asim
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:19PM

    joke of the day

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  • Hasnain
    Oct 3, 2012 - 10:11PM

    Or we could go next door to Iran.

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  • realist
    Oct 5, 2012 - 4:53AM

    @Hasnain:

    I dont understand why Pak is not exploring the Iran option and instead keeps talking of new schemes. Pak shares a border with Iran, no? There could be ways to get oil/gas from Iran to Pak even without a pipeline, right? One example is how India gets oil/gas from Iran. Pak could get via sea or even through land as you share a border.

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