Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Orion Energy have signed an agreement for undertaking a joint study on the prospects of offshore exploration and will invest millions of dollars in drilling and set up a power plant that will receive gas from Kandhkot gas field.
PPL Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Asim Murtaza and Orion Energy CEO and Director David M Thomas signed documents here on Friday.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Adam Thomson and Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum Executive Director Nadim Khan were also present on the occasion.
PPL and Orion Energy, headquartered in Singapore with a representative office in the UK, have planned to conduct the study in Indus and Makran offshore areas to determine the hydrocarbon potential there.
They will constitute different teams and earmark resources for the study, which is expected to take around four months. Following the identification of prospective areas, further exploration may get under way.
Later, technological partners may be brought in for state-of-the-art data acquisition, processing and identification of potential structures and reservoirs. Subsequent to the study, further exploration and production may require investments of around $100 million.
According to a statement, they will also form a special purpose company for establishing a 20 to 25-megawatt power plant and the capacity will be enhanced to 250MW.
In his welcome address, British High Commissioner Adam Thomson said, “Today’s signing is another step towards the UK and Pakistan’s ambitious, joint trade and investment targets. This is a clear signal from UK companies of their wish to do business in Pakistan with Pakistani partners in the energy sector.”
He said investment by any UK company in Pakistan’s energy sector had great importance to the British government. “Two years ago, the prime minister of Pakistan and the British premier mutually agreed to bring the volume of investment and trade to around $2.5 billion by 2015,” he said.
Thomson was of the view that both the countries were following the right track of cooperation and they could do and should exceed the set investment target because both were natural business partners and were already working together in almost every sector of the economy.
In Europe, he said, British companies were leading in supplying energy technology, both in traditional and alternative energy.
Talking briefly about his company, PPL MD Asim Murtaza said PPL was a frontline player in Pakistan’s energy sector with 71% government shareholding in the company. It produces 186,000 barrels of oil per day and covers 24% of energy needs of the country.
According to Murtaza, so far 17 offshore exploration attempts have failed, discouraging exploration companies, but the PPL-Orion initiative has revived hopes.
About exploration work in Makran region, he said geology of the region was very complex, requiring the use of state-of-the-art technology, which Orion Energy has. At a later stage, exploration activities in Makran will be extended to Indus Delta.
Murtaza said Kandhkot gas field could supply 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of gas, but Guddu power plant was receiving only 100 mmcfd.
Orion Energy CEO David Thomas said his company, encouraged by PPL’s strong technical team and good corporate governance, would help Pakistan meet its increasing energy demand.
Talking to journalists, Thomas said the victory of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in general election with a simple majority and the formation of the government without any alliance showed to foreign investors that the country had political stability.
Security is not a major problem for foreign investors. “We faced life threats in the UK from IRA (Irish Republican Army) during the 90s but life was going on,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2013.