Govt allocates exploration rights for six petroleum blocks despite limited response

The winning parties committed a total minimum investment of $23.25 million over three years for exploration activities

In response to a tepid interest from bidders, the government announced the successful award of exploration rights for six petroleum blocks, while four others failed to attract any bids despite a deadline extension.

The Petroleum Division disclosed that a bid committee, led by the Director General Petroleum Concessions (DGPC), opened bids for onshore blocks to grant petroleum exploration rights.

Out of the six blocks that received bids, United Energy Pakistan, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-listed United Energy Group, emerged as the highest bidder for two blocks (100 percent). The remaining four blocks were secured by local and predominantly state-run exploration and production companies.

Pakistan Oilfields Ltd (PPL) led a joint venture with Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd (OGDCL) and Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL), securing 40 percent, 30 percent, and 30 percent shares, respectively, in one of the blocks.

OGDCL claimed two other blocks with 100 percent ownership, while another block was jointly acquired by operator PPL with a 70 percent stake and OGDCL holding the remaining 30 percent.

The winning parties committed a total minimum investment of $23.25 million over three years for exploration activities. Additionally, successful companies are obligated to allocate over $540,000 for social welfare in the respective block areas.

In the event of hydrocarbon discoveries, the exploration and production firms plan substantial investments, reaching several hundred million dollars, for commercial well development.

The government had invited local and international exploration and production companies to bid for 10 exploration blocks in Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan by November 15, with an extension granted until November 30.

Despite this, four blocks failed to attract any bids, reflecting challenges such as the departure of foreign firms due to macroeconomic and security conditions. Similar low interest was observed in June when the government offered 18 blocks for bidding, receiving offers for only three.

The exploration blocks covered six in Sindh, three in Balochistan, and one in Punjab. The four blocks that did not receive bids were in Punjab (Rachna-II), Sindh (Malir-II and Zamzama West), and Balochistan (Kalata North).

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