The trouble with decision-makers is that they are not only proved to be incompetents but are also complacent. Why we are not exploring new wells is beyond imagination. No measures have been taken to exploit long-term benefits. It seems like some people are trying to work out things for themselves in the absence of accountability and responsibility. Aggressively transforming energy and power sector for imported LNG will cost billions of dollars. The 15-year contract of $16 billion worth of imported LNG will cost nearly $1.35 billion extra every year on this first LNBG regasification import project.
Another fine precedent is offshore production sharing agreements with oil companies. Drilling, exploring and production agreements signed in the 2000s under the benchmark "Regulations for Mines & Oilfields and Mineral Development Act" of 1948, which was amended in 1976. This benchmark was amended just before most of Pakistan’s population was even born. While the rest of the world was smoothly moving from one technological revolution to the next, we are still passing a thread the eye of a needle.
Until and unless, on ground implementations are not wholeheartedly executed by subject matter, we’ll never be able to move towards sustainable economic growth. The situation is not going to alter, no matter how we keep sharpening the pencil to draw the strategically developed business patterns on the papers, presentations or seminars. Effectively execution of such ambitious undertakings must not be compromised for long-term loss-making energy projects.
The SDPI advises the government of Pakistan to make policy in accordance with the National Conservation Strategy (NCS), along with the National Energy Security Plan (NESP). These analyses can play a significant role in Pakistan’s socio-economic development planning within the context of a national environmental plan and numerous goals of Vision 2025.
Publication only covers oil and gas reserves within the onshore area of 665,500 sq.km and there’s absolutely no data or analysis shared for the mentioned 134,600 sq.km of offshore areas. It’s approximately 16.82% of Total Sedimentary Basin Area (TSBA), which is 800,100 sq.km. Pakistan’s coastline is 1,046 km and in the recent past, the UN extended our Maritime Territorial Continental Shelf to a further 370 km from the coastline, stretching the offshore territorial boundary to 387,020 sq.km. This expansion resulting in the sedimentary basins to 1,052,520 sq.km. Proportionately, potential offshore exploration zones are broadened to 36.77% of the country’s basins. It’s more than doubled of initial calculated digits. Offshore oil and gas exploitation is neglected in Pakistan for decades. If advisors continuously ignore such economic boosting opportunity then the blame is equally spread across the decision-makers who sit on high profile positions while twiddling thumbs.
By virtue of experience, a couple of cohorts within their capacity must have grasped the ground realities of supply chain and demand of energy-rich hydrocarbons from onshore production fields. But, unfortunately, the decision-making hierarchy is not only out of focus but also fails to understand the importance of widespread oil and gas field blocks of offshore basins, spread over 1,046 km of coastline. It is a strange that GHPL, MPNR, OGDCL and PPEPDR proudly claim to narrate the decades of glorious wide span bandwidth experience in explorations and crowned to be the champions of optimised productions but ignorant of Pakistan’s most valuable natural resources hidden in shallow to deep water and oil-rich reservoirs.
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) published an analysis report in 2014 and claims a conquest in the arena as a surviving gladiator in the presence of no one else. Factually, analysis on Pakistan’s shale oil and gas is a daydream. Believe. Such inadequately accomplished advisory publications are probably utilised by some decision-makers to enhance the patchwork mechanism of trouble-shooting their self-created energy crisis and leaving behind the opportunity of establishing correct mitigation measures for a sustainable long-term energy needs.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.