Last week brought good news to Pakistan – a country currently suffering from energy shortages. According to a new study conducted in collaboration with US Agency for International Development (USAID) Pakistan has more than 10,000 trillion shale gas reserves. The study, initiated in January 2014, revealed that Pakistan had 10,159 tcf of shale gas resource and 2,323 billion barrels of shale oil.
These numbers are not only higher than the country’s conventional reserves – estimated at around 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) and 385 million barrels of oil – but also higher than previous shale assessments carried out by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).
In April 2011, EIA reported the presence of 206 tcf shale gas in lower Indus Basin out of which 51 tcf was termed technically recoverable. This was further revised in June 2013 to 586 tcf, out of which 105 tcf was tipped as risked technically recoverable.
Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said: “The conclusion (of the study) is that Pakistan has huge potential of shale gas and oil which is much bigger than previous estimates of the United States Energy Information Administration and technology is available at home to produce this resource.”
Abbasi said Pakistan’s conventional oil and gas exploration technology could be used for exploiting shale oil and gas but it still needed more advanced technology for exploiting shale oil and gas resource on a larger scale. He also said that the real challenges were to do with environmental issues and provision of water for fracturing operations, with a single well requiring 3-8 million gallons of water.
At present two state oil and gas companies, Oil and Gas Development Corporation Limited (OGDLC) and Pakistan Petroleum, are carrying out exploration work on one test well to determine the costs involved.
Petroleum Advisor to Petroleum Ministry Zaid Muzaffar said: “We are hopeful to find results in next two to three months,” he said adding that one well needs $2 to $3 million additional cost to explore shale resource.
Minister Abbasi also said that initially the gas would be available for domestic consumers in Punjab only.
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