The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources revealed in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee here on Wednesday that Pakistan had shale gas deposits of trillions of cubic feet, of which 95 trillion cubic feet could be extracted only in Sindh and southern Punjab.
In a briefing to the committee, officials of the petroleum ministry pointed out that findings of a study conducted by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) showed that there were shale gas reserves of trillions of cubic feet in Pakistan.
The future of Pakistan was bright as far as shale gas resources were concerned, they said. However, the country lacks the capacity to tap difficult-to-reach deposits of shale gas and requires the assistance of foreign companies as well as latest technology.
Talking about natural gas production in the country, the officials said Pakistan was churning out 30% less output than the domestic requirement.
Sindh is the biggest producer of natural gas contributing 2,780 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) followed by Balochistan with a share of 875 mmcfd. Punjab produces a small volume of 143 mmcfd.
In oil exploration, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is leading other provinces with an output of 42,601 barrels per day. It is followed by Sindh with production of 31,179 barrels per day whereas Punjab has a share of 14,209 barrels per day. Balochistan has the lowest contribution with production of 89 barrels per day.
Officials of the petroleum ministry told the committee that there were 2,210 wells across the country comprising 947 exploration wells and 1,263 development wells. Hydrocarbon reserves have been found in 323 wells – 72 contained oil and 251 had gas – with a 34% success rate.
Overall, the ministry has issued 179 exploration licences and 160 leases and 99 wells had been drilled before partition.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, an area of 34,104.17 square kms is being explored for oil and gas reserves with a 36% success rate. In Balochistan, exploration work is going on over an area of 112,713.38 square km with a 28% success rate.
In Punjab, 68,997.89 square kms are being drilled for oil and gas deposits and the success rate is 25%. In Sindh, exploration companies are searching for hydrocarbons over an area of 93,556.05 square km with a 34% success rate.
In terms of discoveries made so far, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have made 15 discoveries each, Punjab has made 42 discoveries and Sindh has to its credit 255 discoveries.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2015.