Pakistan has 10,159 tcf of shale gas deposits: USAID

Published: November 20, 2015
According to the petroleum minister, 70% of data was used to develop the study and samples were sent to the New Tech laboratory in Houston, US for assessment. PHOTO: FILE

According to the petroleum minister, 70% of data was used to develop the study and samples were sent to the New Tech laboratory in Houston, US for assessment. PHOTO: FILE


Pakistan has massive deposits of 10,159 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas and 2.3 trillion barrels of oil – estimates that are several times higher than figures given by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), reveals a study conducted with the help of US Agency for International Development (USAID).

EIA had reported in April 2011 that 206 tcf of shale gas was present in the lower Indus Basin, of which 51 tcf were technically recoverable.

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However, in June 2013, EIA revised the estimate upwards to 586 tcf, of which 105 tcf were tipped as technically recoverable. Apart from gas, EIA also saw the presence of 9.1 billion barrels of shale oil that were technically recoverable out of the estimated deposits of 227 billion barrels.

Speaking at a press conference, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the study was undertaken with the support of USAID in January 2014, and was completed in November this year.

He said the study confirmed that Pakistan had 10,159 tcf of shale gas and 2,323 billion barrels of oil reserves.

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“Risked technically recoverable resource is 95 trillion cubic feet of shale gas and 14 billion barrels of shale oil,” Abbasi said, adding the data of 1,611 wells had been collected and shale formation of 1,312 wells was done through drilling.

He said 70% of data was used to develop the study and samples were sent to the New Tech laboratory in Houston, US for assessment. “Pakistan has the potential to produce shale gas and oil, which is more than expectations,” he remarked.

Abbasi insisted that the technology in Pakistan for exploring conventional oil and gas deposits could also be used for extracting shale reserves. Still, more technology was required for producing shale oil and gas on a large scale.

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He cited environmental issues, provision of water and high cost of drilling as the real challenges. A well requires 3 to 8 million barrels of water.

“We have water but the real issue is its disposal,” he said, adding shale gas would cost $10 per million British thermal units. However, the cost will come down with the increase in recovery of untapped deposits.

He said the world was exploring shale gas and oil and Pakistan also wanted to harness that potential. “We have asked OGDC (Oil and Gas Development Company) and PPL (Pakistan Petroleum Limited) to extract shale gas and oil from a well in order to determine its cost.”

A policy for shale deposits will be formulated after the cost of drilling is determined.

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According to Abbasi, Pakistan has 20 trillion cubic feet of conventional gas and 385 million barrels of oil. “Gas is enough to meet the needs for 15 years at the existing pace of production,” he said.

Adviser to Ministry of Petroleum Zaid Muzaffar revealed that OGDC was working on one conventional gas well in a bid to find shale gas and oil. “We hope it will get results in two to three months.”

A well needs $2 to $3 million of additional cost to reach the shale reserves.

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Abbasi said gas would be available in Punjab to domestic consumers only and liquefied natural gas (LNG) would be consumed to run power and fertiliser plants.

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Compressed natural gas (CNG) stations may get LNG if it was available and captive power plants would also be switched to this fuel, he said.

The minister stressed that the petroleum ministry had followed a transparent process in the award of LNG contract. It has provided all information to the National Accountability Bureau, which has asked for a presentation.

He revealed that the ministry had sent a summary to the Economic Coordination Committee for deregulating oil prices, but it was turned down. “We are looking at the petroleum situation again to assess whether it should be deregulated or not.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Sodomite
    Nov 20, 2015 - 2:05AM

    We have heard this before…..Recommend

  • AnisAqeel
    Nov 20, 2015 - 7:26AM

    And….and then there was a scary bang of bomb blast and I woke up. BTW what happened to that abundant and trillions of tons of Gold and precious metals that were found in Rajoa and Chiniot!!!Recommend

  • Nasir
    Nov 20, 2015 - 9:53AM

    ET should make it easy to understand the values for readers like me who are not professional in the field. How much is 10000 tcf ? Enough for a day or a decade for Pakistan’s energy demand ? No damn idea. Recommend

  • illpopo
    Nov 20, 2015 - 10:04AM

    contradictions, confusions, hesitation, priorities lack of honesty, dedication…………… should we say wow!Recommend

  • Rahi Mila
    Nov 20, 2015 - 12:19PM

    Where have you heard this before? Do you have any links for “where you heard this before”? Or are you just saying this because you cannot think of anything else to say?Recommend

  • Khan
    Nov 20, 2015 - 12:36PM

    Sindh is rich in oil & gas but Sindhis are poor in these resources!!Recommend

  • PatrioticLooser
    Nov 20, 2015 - 12:55PM

    Sad to hear that we have abundant useless fossil fuels,,, Which we can never utilized because of petroleum Mafia…!!Recommend

  • Dr Who
    Nov 20, 2015 - 1:35PM

    within 15 years more than 60 percent of ebergy requirement will be tapped using cheap solar wind and geo thermal energy…cost of exploration and conversion from shale will not be viable. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Nov 20, 2015 - 2:02PM

    Thank God these reserves are still untapped. Just imagine the loot and plunder then, if all this comes to the surface.Recommend

  • Sajid
    Nov 20, 2015 - 2:41PM

    @Sodomite it’s not Orange line project of 165 + billion Rps which gets approval within two weeksRecommend

  • over burdened citizen
    Nov 20, 2015 - 5:00PM

    Why should the money be spent on extraction projects, the govt could use the same money for superior projects like Metro Buses and Orange line trains.Recommend

  • usman778
    Nov 21, 2015 - 1:46AM

    We are too lazy for such hard work… Let the Chinese engineer it, Let the russians build the pipelines, let IMF fund it and led Indians/Bangladeshis work the rigs.

    Then, lets complain about how Paksitan does not advance.Recommend

  • Ali
    Nov 21, 2015 - 11:14AM

    Extracting shale gas requires one of the most devastating processes, for the earth its beneath and for the environment as well, it’s literally earth shattering and pollutes the underground water sources in the process. For the purpose of information its good to know that we have shale gas reserves but implying that we should tap those resources instead, would have devastating consequences. Recommend

  • Woz Ahmed
    Nov 21, 2015 - 8:54PM

    @Rahi Mila

    I believe Sodomite is referring to the pm stating the discovery of iron ore in Chiniot will end our begging bowl culture , but no development has happened since.

    Or Thar coal, apparently one of largest coalfields in the world, 180 billion tonnes, discovered in 1992. How much electricity has been created in 23 years ?

    We need to be positive, but I wouldn’t even suggest you need healthy scepticism in this case, just common sense to look at the facts.Recommend

  • Khurrm Khurrūm
    Dec 19, 2015 - 11:11AM

    Use of coal is being discouraged world over due to pollution factor,, according to Paris Agreement on environmental control,, coal will be discouraged, except India,, all other countries,, have already reduced coal use for energy production Recommend

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