Petroleum minister briefed on pace of offshore drilling at Indus G-Block

Exxon Mobil Chief Executive Officer Irtiza Syed on Wednesday briefed Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan on the pace of ongoing exploration activity in ultra-deep waters at the offshore Indus G-Block called Kekra-I some 230km off the Karachi coast.

During a meeting, the CEO apprised the minister about different aspects of the exploration activity and expected gas and oil deposits at the offshore block.

“The well’s diameter is 18 to 24 inches. Right now they are at the depth of 1,900km, hence it is an ultra-deep exploration,” a Petroleum Division press release said.

The minister expressed confidence that the year 2019 would prove beneficial for the nation as good news was expected in March or April due to the exploration activity being carried out by Pakistan exploration and production companies along with international partners around the clock.

The offshore drilling is a joint venture of ENI, Exxon Mobil, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited, which is being carried out at estimated exploration cost of $75 million. Currently, more than 200 people are working at the drilling ship.

“Exxon Mobil has given the target depth of 5,500 feet. In March, the both Exxon and ENI will send specimen to Houston (US) and Milan (Italy) for further examination. From April to May there will be a reasonable idea that this well contains oil or gas,” the press release added.

The discovery is anticipated to yield gas flows matching the Sui field, with estimated reserves of three to eight trillion cubic feet (TCF) gas, or 25-40 percent of Pakistan’s total gas reserves.

The operator of the block, ENI, has chartered ‘Saipem’ a rig ship to drill the exploration well, located 230km southwest of Karachi. ENI is an Italian company working in Pakistan since the year 2000.

After its success in the joint venture at the Kekra-I, the Exxon Mobil will drill more exploration wells in potential areas.

Ghulam Sarwar also invited Exxon Mobil for on shore exploration. He said that he will make ways easy for international investment. For this purpose, duties and taxes have been waived off on the import of drilling equipment, he added.

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