Islamabad: Pakistan’s biggest hope of being self-sufficient in oil has faded away after no reserves were discovered in the Arabian Sea off the Karachi coast.
Authorities officially announced on Saturday that the much-celebrated offshore drilling in Kekra-1 had been stopped because no reserves were found. The operators of the well have decided to fill in the hole in the coming days, Dawn reported.
Around 17 attempts were made in the past, but all remained unsuccessful despite encouraging data from each drilling.
Speaking to a private news channel, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar announced that the offshore drilling in Kekra-1 did not yield desired results.
Pakistanis were hopeful about finding large oil and gas reserves in the country’s territorial waters in the Arabian Sea. Kekra-1 well at Indus G-Block is located around 280 kilometres southwest of Karachi coast.
A senior official of the petroleum division told Dawn that even after drilling more than 5,500 metres, oil reserves were not found. Therefore, he added, it had been decided to plug the well and abandon the project.
Around USD 100 million has been invested in the project, but the officials of the petroleum division maintain that the data received from the drilling and other seismic studies of the well will be useful for future exploration activities in the region.
Operators 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.
At the same time, officials said, oil and gas exploration and production is described as a “high risk- high reward” business and the failures should not be taken as a loss. “India found offshore reserves from its ‘Bombay High well’ after 40 attempts,” the officials were quoted as saying.
In March, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that the nation should expect “good news” soon, hinting at the possibility of discovering major offshore oil reserves.
Khan had told reporters earlier that the offshore drilling off the coast of Karachi was in its final stages and there could be a major find.
“We should all pray that Pakistan gets this natural resource in substantial quantity,” he added.
So far 16 wells have been drilled in the area. Some of them fell short of their target because of technical issues, while others reported quantities of non-commercial gas.