Exploration and production: PPL, Orion may tie up for offshore drilling in Pakistan

Published: June 20, 2013
Orion team arrived in Pakistan earlier this month to thresh out technical details. PHOTO: FILE

Orion team arrived in Pakistan earlier this month to thresh out technical details. PHOTO: FILE


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.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Reader
    Jun 20, 2013 - 11:56AM

    PPL should try to form a JV with companies of repute. Companies like the one mentioned above are time wasters and nothing else.


  • John Bristow
    Jun 21, 2013 - 10:35PM

    Excellent to see tangible deals being signed up between the UK and Pakistan – will undoubtedly improve investor confidence for overseas companies looking to invest in Pakistan.


  • Gavin Davies
    Jun 21, 2013 - 11:38PM

    Positive news for Pakistan! We require more success stories rather than negativity to put Pakistan back on the world map for the right reasons. Watch out for a new emerging market!


  • Arif Butt
    Jun 22, 2013 - 3:05AM

    Agree – Pakistan requires more foreign direct investment into all aspects of industry to get the wheels of the economy moving. A positive step in the right direction here. Let’s focus on trade and not aid! Let’s also incentivise foreign energy companies to invest.


  • Waqas Idrees
    Jun 22, 2013 - 4:15PM

    Those international companies with the foresight to look beyond the negative headlines will and deserve to capitalise on the numerous investment opportunities that exist in the 6th most populous country in the world. Let’s encourage investors as they are Pakistan’s true ambassadors! Investment in infrastructure, energy and industry is what will create jobs and kick start the economy. Take a look over the border into India to see how this model has transformed a nation over the last decade.


  • Faisal Rasul
    Jun 22, 2013 - 6:40PM

    Positive :) – let’s turn the tide and improve investor sentiment for Pakistan by bridging the gap with foreign investors. I am prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with any investor willing to invest in Pakistan. Let’s focus on energy as our next target.


  • Adnan Majid
    Jun 24, 2013 - 12:21AM

    Great development. Let’s hope this is the first of many investments. We have a new Government which is renowned for being pro business and progressive. This coupled with the first historic transition of democratically elected power in Pakistan, provides a stable back drop for international investment. Goldman Sachs is terming Pakistan as one of the ‘next eleven’ emerging economies after the BRICS, the Karachi Stock Exchange is trading at an all time high – let’s keep up the momentum and bring about positive economic change for Pakistan!


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