BAFL 45.66 Increased By ▲ 0.56 (1.24%)
BIPL 20.08 Decreased By ▼ -0.17 (-0.84%)
BOP 5.34 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-1.11%)
CNERGY 4.54 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.22%)
DFML 16.01 Increased By ▲ 0.33 (2.1%)
DGKC 78.62 Increased By ▲ 5.74 (7.88%)
FABL 27.80 Increased By ▲ 0.65 (2.39%)
FCCL 18.86 Increased By ▲ 1.21 (6.86%)
FFL 8.96 Decreased By ▼ -0.13 (-1.43%)
GGL 12.85 Increased By ▲ 0.21 (1.66%)
HBL 111.54 Increased By ▲ 0.88 (0.8%)
HUBC 122.23 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (0.58%)
HUMNL 7.69 Increased By ▲ 0.34 (4.63%)
KEL 3.29 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (1.86%)
LOTCHEM 27.80 Increased By ▲ 0.48 (1.76%)
MLCF 42.36 Increased By ▲ 3.03 (7.7%)
OGDC 110.37 Increased By ▲ 2.37 (2.19%)
PAEL 18.97 Increased By ▲ 1.41 (8.03%)
PIBTL 5.46 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
PIOC 114.91 Increased By ▲ 6.91 (6.4%)
PPL 94.72 Increased By ▲ 2.97 (3.24%)
PRL 25.32 Increased By ▲ 0.44 (1.77%)
SILK 1.10 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (1.85%)
SNGP 64.32 Increased By ▲ 1.22 (1.93%)
SSGC 12.26 Increased By ▲ 0.37 (3.11%)
TELE 8.36 Increased By ▲ 0.17 (2.08%)
TPLP 13.35 Increased By ▲ 0.24 (1.83%)
TRG 83.84 Increased By ▲ 2.23 (2.73%)
UNITY 25.89 Increased By ▲ 0.14 (0.54%)
WTL 1.54 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (1.32%)
BR100 6,308 Increased By 126.6 (2.05%)
BR30 21,973 Increased By 434.1 (2.02%)
KSE100 61,691 Increased By 1160 (1.92%)
KSE30 20,555 Increased By 366.1 (1.81%)

EDITORIAL: Federal Energy Minister Muhammad Ali’s revelation that up to 70 percent area in Pakistan is still unexplored and needs to be evaluated for oil and gas exploration to reduce the fuel import bill raises more questions than answers.

The first one, quite naturally, being why hasn’t any administration so far got the ball rolling on this matter even as the exchequer struggled with unbearable oil imports over the past few years.

He was speaking at the 29th Annual Technical Conference (ATC), where 1,200 local and international delegates showcased technology and presented papers, so the setting was right to engage industry experts as Pakistan looks to expand its options and operations.

The minister also disclosed that 24 oil and gas wells would be auctioned in two phases in the coming months, for which both domestic and international companies would be encouraged, and it remains to be seen if participants at the ATC show any interest.

Regardless, the official oil and gas policy seems more ad hoc than well planned, considering that it requires long-term planning, which has clearly been missing.

Leaving a good 70 percent area unexplored amounts to deliberately keeping the country hostage to the supply constraints and price swings of the international markets, which ought to be unacceptable, yet here we are.

Countries, like Pakistan, that rely on imports for a large part of their domestic needs learned a very hard lesson during and after the Covid shutdowns. Yet, it turns out, our situation is different from others that know they don’t have any more oil or gas reserves, since we haven’t yet taken the trouble to complete exploration and evaluation exercises – the first step in the cycle.

And even though a caretaker minister has pointed out this shortcoming, there’s still no telling when the long, complicated and quite expensive process of exploring such a large area will start; or if work has even started on the initial feasibility.

Similar ad hocism is evident in the oil import regime as well. The government has been working on diversifying oil imports for quite a while, and there’s still no final word on shifting to Russian oil or which currency would be used for payment.

India, for example, has been importing Russian oil for decades, which enabled it to conveniently sidestep American sanctions since the onset of the Ukraine war, and it didn’t take long to work out a payment mechanism in UAE dirhams; with a fall back plan in place to use Indian rupees in case dirham payment is also sanctioned.

Islamabad, on the other hand, did no such homework and even this far behind the curve, hasn’t moved beyond mere statements at least as far as the currency swap is concerned.

One can only hope that the exploration work will begin soon enough. Surely, the government doesn’t need to be reminded that unstable oil price, because of fluctuations in the international market, also feeds inflation, especially food inflation, in the country.

And since these are times of historic inflation, and the economy is under more strain than it has ever experienced before, now is as good a time as any to explore all areas for oil and gas reserves; hopefully reducing the load on the exchequer in the future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.

Usman Nov 12, 2023 09:50am
But we will taxes to do the exploration and blame every one else for our miseries.we will also not work to fix our economy and will blame America,Indians and now afghans also.
thumb_up Recommended (0)
Fida Khan Nov 14, 2023 09:19am
The article is short sighted and pervasive in nature. It does not reflect a wisdom of a mature journalist who has worked on this subject thoroughly. First of all, 70% unexplored is big question mark. Pakistan exploration companies has explored and evaluated more then 80% of Pakistan, GEOLOGICALLY and it is producing good amount of oil and gas from it. Remaining 20% areas is either with defence ministry, where exploration activity is not allowed or its deep offshore especially that 50K Sq.Km area which has good potential but it needs huge amount to explore and DGPC has not yet been able to float that areas for exploration activity. Pakistan geological has got 3 Basins, ( Indus, Baluchistan and Katawaz Basins).There is another big point, There is huge difference between Baluchistan basin and Baluchistan province. People will say that Sui is part of Baluchistan which is indeed part of it politically. but geologically, its part of Indus basin and Indian Plate.
thumb_up Recommended (0)

Oil exploration

Pakistan’s trade deficit narrows 34% to $9.38bn in 5MFY24

KSE-100 conquers 61,000 after single-day gain of 1,160 points

COP28: UAE president announces $30bn fund to bridge climate finance gap

Israel resumes Gaza attacks as truce expires, heavy fighting reported

Al Qadir Trust case: NAB files reference against Imran, wife

Inter-bank: rupee records 4th consecutive gain against US dollar

Open-market: rupee continues to strengthen against US dollar

PCB includes Salman Butt in selection panel, decision draws criticism

ECP refutes Babar Awan’s statement about KP’s seats being reduced

COP28: Caretaker PM Kakar arrives at Dubai Expo City