Drilling for shale gas in Pakistan will start next year – the country’s Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi announced yesterday.
As the Pakistani Express Tribune reports, Mr Abbasi made the statement while signing an exploration licence and petroleum concession agreement for the Karak North block with Tallahassee Resources Inc. on Monday. Petroleum and Natural Resources Secretary Abid Saeed, Petroleum Concessions Director General Saeedullah Shah and Tallahassee Resources Director from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Wasim Ahmad also put their signatures on the licence agreement.
The licensed Karak North block is located in Karak district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and covers an area of 99.14 square kilometres. Tallahassee Resources, a Calgary-based E&P company with assets in in British Columbia and Canadian Alberta, has made a required minimum work commitment of $3.07 million. It also has committed to spending a minimum of $30,000 per year in the block on social welfare schemes.
So far, the government has given provisional exploration rights for 50 blocks to nine companies in January this year. Of these, 21 blocks were in Balochistan, 15 in Punjab, seven in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, six in Sindh and one in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The ministry has already signed 43 exploration licences and petroleum concession agreements this year.
With the acquisition of Karak North block, Tallahassee Resources’ current focus is on light oil development in Kohat/Potwar belt. It intends to expand in the near future into Pakistan’s tight gas and shale oil development by utilising its existing technical expertise and North American assets.
Pakistan is a net importer of crude oil and refined products, which accounted for 31 percent of Pakistan’s primary energy supply in 2012, according to a report by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute. Crude oil and other liquids production in Pakistan has fluctuated between 55,000 and 70,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) since the 1990s.
Oil consumption – averaging 437,000 bbl/d in 2013 – has considerably outgrown production (64,000 bbl/d for the same year). Also, as far as Pakistan’s natural gas is concerned, the country faced a shortfall of 912 Bcf in 2013.
This is why, the current government has given priority to developing Pakistan’s hydrocarbon resources, including unconventional gas and oil. Since the new government took power in June last year, 120 wells have been drilled and 30 discoveries made.
According to EIA’s 2013 report, Pakistan holds sizeable shale gas reserves of 105 trillion cubic feet.
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