As part of our ongoing commitment to provide transparent and comprehensive legal advice, we are pleased to present an in-depth look at the Block Award Process for the grant of Petroleum Rights in Pakistan. This article will elucidate each stage of the process, ensuring that stakeholders understand the procedural intricacies involved in obtaining an Exploration Licence (E.L).

Application for Grant of Petroleum Rights

The process initiates with the submission of an application for the grant of Petroleum Rights. This application is a formal request by an entity to gain the rights to explore and potentially extract petroleum resources within a designated area, known as a block.

In-House Scrutiny

Upon receiving the application, it undergoes in-house scrutiny. This phase involves a thorough examination to ensure that the block applied for falls within the ‘Green Area’ as per the relevant rules. The ‘Green Area’ designation is crucial; blocks falling outside this area are automatically rejected, streamlining the process and ensuring compliance with regulatory frameworks.

Invitation for Bids

If the application passes the in-house scrutiny, the next step involves inviting bids through public notices in the press. This public invitation is crucial for maintaining transparency and encouraging competitive bidding. It ensures that the selection process is fair and open to qualified bidders.

Receipt of Bids

Subsequently, bids are received from various interested parties. This period is crucial as it allows for the collection of competitive proposals, providing a pool of potential candidates from which the most suitable one can be selected.

Evaluation of Bids

The received bids are then meticulously evaluated. This evaluation considers multiple factors, including the technical and financial capabilities of the bidders, their proposed work plans, and their compliance with the legal and regulatory requirements. The goal is to identify the bid that offers the best potential for successful exploration and development of petroleum resources.

Ministerial Approval

Following the evaluation, the selected bid requires the approval of the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources. This step is vital as it ensures that the final decision has the backing of the highest level of authority within the sector, adding an additional layer of scrutiny and validation to the process.

Grant of Exploration Licence and Execution of Agreement

Upon receiving ministerial approval, the Exploration Licence is granted to the successful bidder. This licence formalizes the right to explore the designated block. Concurrently, an agreement is executed, outlining the terms and conditions under which the exploration activities will be conducted. This agreement serves as a binding contract, ensuring that both parties adhere to the stipulated obligations and expectations.


The entire Block Award Process is governed by specific timelines to ensure efficiency and prevent undue delays:

  • Within 60 days: The initial in-house scrutiny and bid invitation process must be completed.
  • Within 15 days: The receipt and evaluation of bids.
  • Within 15 days: Approval by the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources.
  • 90 days: Overall duration from application submission to the grant of the Exploration Licence.


The Block Award Process for the grant of Petroleum Rights is a meticulously structured procedure designed to ensure transparency, compliance, and efficiency. By adhering to these stages and timelines, Pakistan aims to foster a competitive and fair environment for petroleum exploration, ultimately contributing to the sustainable development of its natural resources.

For further information or specific legal advice regarding the Block Award Process, please feel free to contact our office. Our team of experienced legal professionals is dedicated to providing you with the guidance and support you need to navigate this complex process successfully.

By The Josh and Mak Team

Josh and Mak International is a distinguished law firm with a rich legacy that sets us apart in the legal profession. With years of experience and expertise, we have earned a reputation as a trusted and reputable name in the field. Our firm is built on the pillars of professionalism, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to providing excellent legal services. We have a profound understanding of the law and its complexities, enabling us to deliver tailored legal solutions to meet the unique needs of each client. As a virtual law firm, we offer affordable, high-quality legal advice delivered with the same dedication and work ethic as traditional firms. Choose Josh and Mak International as your legal partner and gain an unfair strategic advantage over your competitors.

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