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Bad news for PM Imran; no oil and gas reserves found off Pakistan shore

The drilling work at Kekra-1 well in deep sea near Karachi has been stopped after no oil or gas reservoir could be found

By PTI in Karachi
  • Published 19.05.19, 3:49 PM
  • Updated 19.05.19, 3:49 PM
  • 2 mins read
Imran Khan AP file photo

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dream of the cash-strapped country becoming self-sufficient in oil has been dashed after no reserves were discovered in the Arabian Sea off the Karachi coast, media reports said on Sunday.

The drilling work at Kekra-1 well in the deep sea near Karachi has been stopped after no oil or gas reservoir could be found, according to the special assistant to Prime Minister Khan on petroleum, Nadeem Babar.

Pakistan was hopeful of finding large oil and gas reserves in its territorial waters in the Arabian Sea. US oil giant Exxon Mobil, Italy's ENI and a couple of other companies were involved in drilling an ultra-deep oil well.

Babar told Geo News that the process of drilling up to more than 5,500 meters was completed on Kekra-1 (Indus G-Block) off Karachi coast.

Babar said the office of DG petroleum concessions has been apprised of the results of drilling.

He said the cost of drilling project, which has now been abandoned, remained over $100 million.

In March, Prime Minister Khan had said Pakistan would not need to import oil after reserves were found near Karachi coast.

“We are hopeful of finding large reserves of gas and oil in the sea near Karachi. The nation should pray for this and I will soon share good news regarding this,” Khan had said.

“God willing the reserves will be so large that we will not need to import any oil,” he said.

Khan said he believed that if big oil reserves were discovered, most of Pakistan's economic problems will be addressed and then there will be no stopping the country’s progress.

Around four months ago, Italian firm ENI, the operator of the Kekra-1 offshore block, started drilling in a joint venture with US firm ExxonMobil, one of the world's largest oil and gas firms, the Pakistan state-owned Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).

Each of the four firms has a 25 per cent participating interest in the block.

The drilling was carried out in ultra-deep waters some 280km away from the Karachi coast.

The well was spudded on January 13 this year, targeting a carbonate reservoir with a prognosed total depth of 5,660 metres.

Some surveyors had found the block ‘Indus-G' similar to the Indian offshore Bombay High oilfield, which produces 350,000 barrels per day of crude oil, while others described it as similar to the ones in the oil- and gas-rich Kuwait, the Express Tribune reported.