State-run Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Singapore-based oil and gas company Orion Energy are likely to form a joint venture for offshore drilling in Pakistan.
Orion Energy, an independent oil and gas company headquartered in Singapore and with offices in London, is currently exploring scores of opportunities in Latin America.
According to sources, Orion had expressed interest in investing in Pakistan at the Pakistan Exploration Bidding Round 2012, held in London in December 2012 by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government.
On the sidelines of the event, Orion Energy Director David M Thomas, and his lawyer Nadim Khan, met the PPL managing director. The interaction was followed by another meeting between representatives of PPL and Orion, chaired by the director general of petroleum concessions.
In the Petroleum Policy 2012, the government had increased the gas price for Offshore Shallow Zone to $7 per million British thermal units (mmbtu), for Offshore Deep Zone to $8 per mmbtu and for Offshore Ultra Deep Zone to $9 per mmbtu. A bonanza of $1 per mmbtu will be given to exploration companies for the first three offshore discoveries under the policy.
Orion Energy had expressed interest in exploring offshore areas in Pakistan in partnership with PPL because of the latter’s good reputation and extensive experience in exploration and production of gas.
Following extensive technical discussions and encouraging feedback from PPL, the two companies agreed to initially undertake a joint study to evaluate prospects of offshore drilling and identify prospective areas for comprehensive exploration work.
Orion Energy had also expressed a desire to come to Pakistan for technical discussions with PPL on offshore exploration and on matters pertaining to forming a joint venture to carry out the joint study. Both sides had also finalised a joint study agreement, which had been ready to be signed by officials.
However, the visit was delayed due to general elections in Pakistan. It was only later, in the first week of June, that an Orion team reached here.
Technical staff from Orion and PPL will undertake the study, based on the geological data available with the two companies and the directorate general of petroleum concessions. The study will be completed in about four months, and its main objective will be to identify potential offshore areas for detailed evaluation through an exploration work programme and the financial obligations that will entail.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2013.