Auction of oil and gas exploration blocks in Pakistan faces delay

Auction of 24 oil and gas exploration blocks in Pakistan has been delayed for more than six months because the Defence Ministry has not issued a security clearance. Auction of exploration blocks is subject to security clearance of the areas concerned by the Ministry. Testifying before the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum, the Petroleum Secretary, Asad Hayauddin, said the petroleum division had requested the ministry to issue no-objection certificates (NOCs) for the 24 blocks some six months ago, but the clearance was still awaited. In June last year, then Petroleum Secretary, Sikandar Sultan Raja had also complained to the committee that his department had been waiting for clearance for 30 to 40 exploration blocks since long. It is believed that the Division had also proposed a time-bound process for issuance of NOCs so that fresh blocks could be offered at regular intervals to local and international companies for exploration, but in vain.

Director General Petroleum Concessions, Imran Ahmed told the Committee that the total oil and gas production in the country stood at 89,030 barrels per day (BOPD) and 3,935 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) in 2018-19. The energy mix of the country comprised 34% natural gas, 31% oil, 13% coal, 9% liquefied petroleum gas and one percent liquefied petroleum gas. The total sedimentary area was said to be of about 827,268 square kilometers and the area under exploration was 224,976 square kilometers. Ahmed said that total number of fuel discoveries made in the country stood at 394 with 85 of oil and 309 of gas, the success rate being about 34%.

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