Pakistan is planning in 2015 to launch its next licensing round that will comprise offshore and onshore acreage.
Zahid Muzaffar, advisor to the Prime Minister on petroleum and natural resources, told the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow that the round is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of next year.
Only 17 wells have been drilled off Pakistan and although some of these have encountered encouraging oil & gas shows, to date there has been no commercial discovery.
Against this backdrop, Pakistan is embarking on an extensive seismic surveying and other data acquisition project for its offshore acreage that will study the geological basins from neighbouring Oman to Pakistan.
“We are planning about 50,000 line kilometres of 2D seismic in the next five years and about 40,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic. [Also] we are planning to drill around 400 exploration wells and about 800 wells,” he said.
“It's a very aggressive programme that we are embarking on,” said Muzaffar, who stressed to Upstream that none of Pakistan's offshore waters is disputed by its neighbours India and Oman.
Deep-water exploration drilling is expected to start next year, according to Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) managing director Asim Khan.
Pakistan will also award exploration acreage directly outside of licensing rounds, Khan told delegates at the Pakistan Ministerial Session of WPC 2014.
“Under the Petroleum Policy, the government can award concessions to companies of foreign countries, national companies without bidding, on a direct negotiation basis. This can be a swap arrangement where we give acreage in Pakistan in exchange for that in a foreign country,” said Khan.
Pakistan earlier this year awarded 50 exploration licences from last year's onshore competitive bid round. Local state-owned Pakistan Petroleum (PPL) won 10 operated blocks and is also partnering OMV on another one that the Austrian company was awarded.
Twenty seven blocks were awarded in 2013 and 13 [petroleum] leases were also granted. Forty nine exploration wells were drilled last year, resulting in 28 discoveries.