Exxon Mobil, a US company, is likely to achieve the target of ultra deep drilling up to 5500 feet in Kekra-1 (Indus G Block) for oil and gas exploration by end of May, sources said. Officials of Petroleum Division said that work at Kekra-1 is progressing as per plan and Exxon Mobil has given the target depth of 5500 feet and has reached 5200 feet.
Forty five days have passed since 21 March when Prime Minister Imran Khan informed the nation that he would share good news within three weeks of vast reservoirs of oil and gas from offshore drilling that would solve most of the country's economic problems-a claim he made on information provided by Petroleum Division, sources said.
High hopes are pinned on deep-water exploration in Kekra-1 (Indus-G block) where Eni (operator of the block) has commenced drilling. All previous 17 offshore exploration attempts were unsuccessful with the last one dating back to 2010, sources said.
The success rate in high risk deep-water frontiers averages 10-15 percent globally. In the case of dry well a one-time dry well expense is estimated at Re 0.50/Re 0.95 for Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL)/Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) each, sources said. Exxon Mobil, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, re-entered Pakistan's market for exploration at offshore Indus G-Block called Kekra-I (an ultra deep well). The offshore drilling has been jointly undertaken by Exxon Mobil, ENI, OGDC and PPL.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), Pakistan may have over 9 billion barrels (1.4×109 cubic metres) of petroleum oil and 105 trillion cubic feet (3.0 trillion cubic metres) of natural gas (including shale gas) reserves.
Chairman Board of Director OGDCL Dr Qamar J Sharif told Business Recorder that the success rate of drilling at Kekra-1 is as high as 20 percent. He further said that the time to drill an on shore well with a depth of about 10,000 feet (3048 meters) takes on average about 6 months in Pakistan as compared to other countries where usually a similar well is drilled in 4 to 6 weeks.
The reason is that Pakistan's geological formations are relatively more challenging to drill. He further stated, "The success ratio of discovery in Pakistan is one success out of three drilled wells contrary to other countries where this ratio is 1 to 10 wells," he said.