DOES THE FUTURE OF PAKISTAN’S ENERGY LIE IN KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA?

You cannot fail to have noticed how often Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been in the news recently. Hailed as being the new geological frontier in Pakistan in terms of gas, oil and LPG, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is absolutely teeming with various minerals and Fata is effectively a new oil state as over the next 5 years the province is set to produce a greater amount of oil than Dubai and, in terms of the current gas shortage, the the FR tanks in the hills are full of it.

Pakistan also enjoys enormous coal reserves with the latest estimate being 186.28241bn tons, 122.99m tons of which are found in Dara Adamkhel and Chata, Hangu-Orakzai, Gulakhel/Kurd-Sho and in the Shirani areas of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. There are Hangu coalfields in both the districts of Hangi and Kohat and in the adjoining Orakzai Agency AKA Fata. Pakhtunkhwa is also making significant contributions in terms of hydrocarbons, with a composition including 2.14% gas and 18.32% oil, into Pakistans main energy supply following the discovery of the first well back in 1999. In recognition of its gas and oil reserves KP established KPOGCL; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Ltd. This is a provisional holding company that is completely owned by KP and both explores and produces oil and gas. KPOGCL is now the working catalyst for the exploration and production of oil and gas within the province. It has also the responsibility of alluring more exploration and production, or E&P, companies by giving them the assurance of both requisite security and the sharing of technological data which acts as a vehicle for faster implementations. It is also acting as the interface between government agencies and the other E&P companies, thereby performing a role commonly known as a ‘One Window Operation’. The company is promoting every E&P activity throughout KP through the investments it had made in exploration blocks and with its procurement of such heavy equipment as seismic recorders and drilling rigs. The primary aim of all this is to generate revenue and ultimately fulfil the energy needs of not just KP province but the entire country.

KP government has worked at great speed to develop the KPOGCL paraphernalia to allow it to not only engage itself quickly with all E&P activities but to also collaborate with the KP government to ensure security for all the other E&P service and companies from both within Pakistan and overseas. Owing to the demands of the province, there had been a significant improvement of the law and order issue in the aftermath of the Zarb-e-Azb military op. This has also greatly increased the level of confidence for international companies as well as causing a considerable reduction in the fear factor thanks to the 13+ oil companies, both national and international, who are know working within KP. There has been a big increase in the number of rigs in the area, which has risen from 3 up to 10, which are needed to expedite the necessary exploration activities. KPOGCL has also signed MOU agreements with both educational institutes and international companies, the major ones being HYCARBEX from the USA, ROSGEO from Russia, Tallahassee from Canada, Peshawar, UET and the Khushal Khan Khattak University in Karak. In KP alone there are now 21 exploration blocks of which only 3 were active in the past, but thanks to the relentless efforts from KPOGCL the E&P activities have gone up from 3 to 17 and they are directly engaged in 6 of these blocks. Through KPOGCL the KP government plan to establish a geotechnical lab that is set to be a future major game player within the energy sector. According to a recent estimate, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 9 trillion cubic feet of recoverable reserves of natural gas and an oil reserve that exceeds 60m barrels. Khyber Pakhtunkhwas “kitchen” is reckoned to be around 10 times as thick as Potwar and considering the latter’s been producing gas and oil for the past 150 KP promises to have much more than anyone has estimated.

The Paharpur block which lies in the southern districts has been awarded to KUFPEC which are a subsidiary of KPC; Kuwait Petroleum Limited and this illustrates the increased level of confidence the KP government has for the promotion of extensive E&P activities within the province. HYCARBEX and Tallahassee are 2 of the various international oil companies which have secured the operational rights of the other lucrative blocks within the province. KPOGCL has its eye on being the sole operator of Lakki, one of the most prospective blocks in the region. They have also recently marked 3 new exploration blocks; Dera Ismail Khan East, Dera Ismail Khan West and Nowshera which will kickstart new ventures in Bannu, Nowshera and Bannu districts. KPOGCL have offered 30% for a joint venture in the exploration blocks at Nowshera, DIK (west) and Lakki DIK (east). The investment made in KP province has opened up many new avenues in terms of economic development through exploration of the indigenous gas and oil reserves. It is currently producing over 50% of the nations crude oil, 400m cubic feet of gas on a daily basis and 510 tons of LPG daily. Exciting new discoveries are pretty much expected in parts of KP, with Kohat Basin being pinpointed as having the most potential following the successful discoveries by MOL and OGDCL.

One of the most exciting aspects of all of this is the fact that the majority of KP is still unexplored giving rise to huge potential for more hydrocarbon projects in the future. The hydrocarbons that are present within the province provide many opportunities for investment in both exploration and subsequent drilling. Considering the high success rate in drilling in the area, E&P companies have a major incentive to enter KP. As it is above the average rate on a global scale, it would seem that investing in KP in terms of oil and gas exploration comes with a low risk. The 2012 Petroleum Policy gives a much higher price per well head for both oil and gas, which in turn lowers the risk further and increases the chances of a high return on any investment. The Pakistani government is also offering an incentive in the form of a high price per well head within zone 1 of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as per the following example; should the Platts price stand at $110 per barrel the well head price would be $6.6/MBTU. There are also a plethora of outstanding opportunities in terms of investing in services such as G&G (Geological and Geophysical) surveys and studies, 2D and 3D seismic data acquisitions, security services, drilling, land permits, camp supply and management, policy framework, logistics, pricing, incentives, legal and contractual information, coordinated access to both data rooms and the LMKR data repository, the setting up and manning of offices in Pakistan, coordination and execution of JV agreements (both working and non-working), human resources, concessionary agreements and a multitude of other support services.

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