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Shale gas, oil: Pakistan has world''s ninth largest reserves: minister

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday claimed that Pakistan has world''s 9th largest shale gas and oil reserves which are far greater than the total resources available in Central Asian states. He shared this information with the participants of a conference "Afghanistan Reconnected liking energy suppliers to consumers in Asia," organised by EastWest Institute under the auspices of Abu Dhabi process meeting at a local hotel.

"Recent international reports indicate huge potential reserves of shale gas and oil resources in Pakistan. In fact Pakistan is 9th largest in reserves in the world. This potential can change the dynamics for energy sector for Pakistan. The SDPI studies shows that Pakistan''s oil reserves are 33 billion Ton of Oil Equivalent (TOE), gas reserves are 16 billion TOE and hydropower potential 70 million TOE which are far greater than available reserves in other countries of the region," he added.

The meeting was attended by the government representatives, members of parliament, power sector experts, private sector and academia. The objective of the meeting was to have frank discussion amongst the stakeholders on regional energy security and regional energy trade. In reply to different questions raised by the participants, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated that Pakistan will pursue Iran Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project (IP), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas project and CASA-1000, adding that international sanctions do not apply on IP project. Later, talking to Business Recorder, the minister said that he will undertake a visit to Iran very soon to meet his counterpart.

Earlier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in his speech said Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia are on the forefront of regional transition to an energy based economy. Energy security is a key priority in the region and in the rest of the world all countries face the global challenges of energy security and sustainability. Afghanistan and Pakistan share a long common border and are trade partners since centuries. The formal and informal trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is estimated to be over $6 billion a year. Afghanistan was fourth largest importer of Pakistani goods in 2013. The two countries have unique history and share geo-political concerns which despite adversity over years can be translated into beneficial ties. Pakistan will continue to extend assistance in facilitating the transition to a peaceful and strong Afghanistan in the post-ISAF period.

The visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week will allow the relations between the two countries to strengthen. During his visit Pakistan and Afghanistan signed several agreements on improved links between the two countries. Torkham-Jalalabad road and Peshawar-Kabul road will serve to create greater and better trade and economic links. The countries have also agreed to implement the Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) in totality.

He added, "There exists substantial possibility of energy co-operation between the two countries and within the region. There are several projects in the pipeline to exploit this potential as the world has become more globalise. International interests are tying us unlike the past. Common electricity grid stations, coal trading, sharing technology developments and even carbon emissions provide great potential for exploiting the regional and local resources. Pakistan and Afghanistan have a great responsibility and a challenge. Pakistan faces its own challenges to have a secure energy future but Afghanistan''s needs are obvious."

In Afghanistan about 63 percent of energy needs are met by oil, 27 percent by solid bio fuel, five percent through hydel resources 0.2 percent through natural gas and five percent through local coal and peat. The country''s installed capacity is about 600 MW of which only 6 percent is generated through renewable resources. Only 15 percent population has access to electricity and remaining population uses solid fuel. This highlights the challenges that Afghanistan faces and at the same time it also provided opportunity to both countries to cooperate to meet these challenges, the minister said.

"We need to identify areas of co-operation in energy and governance between the two countries," he maintained. Pakistan can easily integrate Afghanistan''s needs in developing a comprehensive energy strategy for both countries. Pakistan has great energy resources which need to be exploited. Pakistan''s hydel potential is about 150,000 MW. Pakistan has very large lignite coal reserves in Sindh which need to be developed.

"We have a fairly stable geology and consistent water flow which allows Pakistan''s hydropower potential to be exploited as fully as possible but this potential needs to be tapped," he continued. The location of Pakistan''s hydropower projects makes it imminently possible to easily supply to Afghanistan. Recent international reports indicate huge potential reserves of shale gas and oil resources in Pakistan. However, substantial technological and financial investment is needed to exploit the resources particularly in the case of shale oil and gas.

We are in the process of developing policies to attract investment for the exploitation of resources especially shale oil and gas. "Pakistan will assist its neighbour Afghanistan and recommends the following framework. First, Pakistani universities will offer capacity building programmes and create institutional arrangements with its Afghan counterparts in the oil & gas sector. Second, Pakistan assures Afghanistan to help its geological surveys, as Pakistani geologists and engineers have developed the Indus Basin Study on the same pattern. Third, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has developed three large dams and the Wapda academy will be able to offer training to Afghan engineers in hydropower. Fourth, Pakistan will be able to offer engineering consulting services in developing small hydropower dams. Afghanistan''s Badakhshan area has great potential for micro-hydro technology, and Pakistan will assist it in all aspects. Moreover, the countries should cooperate in the wind energy sector as Afghanistan''s Panjshir province has enormous potential in wind energy.

Regarding power and energy corridor Pakistan is looking towards intra-country transmission lines, common grid and Pakistan can assist Afghanistan in development of infrastructure. Pakistan has largest electricity and gas distribution systems. We also hope to double the LPG production in next two years which will provide an opportunity to export LPG to Afghanistan. We are also in the process of developing LNG supply system in Pakistan. The first LNG cargo is expected to be offloaded sometimes late next year. Pakistan can offer help to Afghanistan with coal resources which will be exploited in the next three to five years.

He maintained that Pakistan is committed to co-operating in energy with the regional countries. "Intensive partnerships are needed towards cleaner and more efficient solutions to regional energy needs. Pakistan will work with its neighbours and the international community to ensure secure energy future of our generations," he added.

Ambassador Dr Beate Maedar-Metcalf highlighted the purpose of second Abu Dhabi process meeting, hoping that the participants gathered from different countries will make positive recommendations on regional energy trade with special focus on Afghanistan.

Ambassador Sapar Berfiniyazov of Turkmenistan stressed on early completion of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline which is far from reality despite the fact it was started a decade ago. He also apprised the participants that an agreement was signed with the previous Nawaz Sharif government for electricity deal but it could not be materialised so far.

"Nawaz government was ready to implement the agreement but the government changed. Projects of national importance should not be politicised," he added. Participants urged the government to complete TAPI and other energy related projects.

Syed Naveed Qamar, former Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources criticised the Petroleum Minister for claiming that Pakistan has 9th largest reserves of shale gas and oil. "The minister''s statement will make headlines in the media. This claim should have been proven first then such statements should be given," he added. Abbasi, however, argued that he has spoken about estimates and let the experts prove it.

Ikram Sehgal, Member of EastWest Institute Board of Directors commended all the participants who came from other countries. He argued that focus on energy in Pakistan at this juncture is very important for the country. He also clashed with D.N Raina President Entecsol International India for insisting that Pakistan import electricity from India and claiming that transmission system can be installed within six months. There was also argument and counter argument over installation of transmission system and conversion of AC to DC.

Sehgal argued that since India is generating electricity from dams constructed on rivers in held Kashmir in violation of the Indus Water Treaty, hence Pakistan should not be in a hurry to import electricity from India. However, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated that controversial water issues are being taken up at appropriate fora.

Dr Najam Abbas, Senior Fellow at the EastWest Institute disclosed that China and UAE have offered to invest in TAPI gas project. Farkhood Bilolov, Deputy Chief, International Relations Department, Ministry of Energy and Industry, Tajikistan spoke about energy potential of his country. Dr S Frederick Starr, senior research professor and Chairman Central Asia, Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Washington also supported TAPI and CASA projects. He argued that both projects are viable but stakeholders have to invest in the pipeline areas.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013



 



 
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Annual2013/14
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