Foreign and domestic companies have invested around $10 billion in petroleum exploration & production (E&P) sector of the country during last four years, said Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Addressing a press conference, the minister said that it is encouraging for the economy of the country that an investment of $10 billion has been made when the investment dropped down 40 percent globally as a result of low oil prices.
Russia Backing The Project
Talking about the status of construction of a gas pipeline from Lahore to Karachi (north south), he said that the gas utility companies completed the first phase of pipeline and work on second phase is in progress. He said that Russia is financing the project and the government of Pakistan is providing land for the project.
Russia will invest $2 billion in the project, the first phase of which is expected to conclude by December 2017. The 1,100 kilometre pipeline with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meter per annum will connect Karachi‘s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals with those in Lahore.
More Oil and Gas Discovered
The minister further said that 101 discoveries have been made during the last four years. He said as many as 83 wells of oil and gas discovered in Sindh and seven discoveries have been made both in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In Balochistan, he said that the re-bidding process of awarding blocks has been initiated. He admitted that the federal government has to cancel licences issued against various blocks in Balochistan which could not start the exploration activities due to poor law and order situation.
Lower Gas Load-Shedding in Winter
The government has claimed credit for inclusion of 5.2 trillion cubic feet gas in national gas pipeline during the PML-N tenure through 68 discoveries, which would help the country overcome gas load-shedding in coming winters.
Recently, he pointed out that oil and gas company PEL succeeded in discovering 765 barrel oil and 24 cubic feet gas in the Badin area. The Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) also started drilling of three wells.
The minister for petroleum said that a total of 5.4 trillion cubic feet gas has been discovered since the PML-N came into power in 2013. Now, he said, the volume of discovered gas is much higher than that of gas consumption in the country.
Natural Gas Theft and Distribution
Responding to a question regarding unaccounted for natural gas (UFG), the minister said that the provincial governments are responsible to stop gas theft; however, he said that the federal government kept the UFG of SNGPL to 10 percent and reduced the theft cases of SSGCL to 40 percent.
He further disclosed that the proposal to change gas distribution formula – to treat all residential consumers across the country equally irrespective of gas produced in one province or the other – will be taken up again in the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The meeting of CCI has been scheduled for July 31, he added.
He said that the federal government has asked industry and commercial ventures to use LNG as an alternate fuel.