Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy [HELP] Way Forward to Self-Sufficiency in Oil & Gas (PB - 66)

Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy [HELP] Way Forward to Self-Sufficiency in Oil & Gas (PB - 66)

Publication details

  • Tuesday | 11 Dec, 2018
  • Engineer Arshad H. Abbasi
  • Policy Briefs/Papers
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The New Government is inheriting an economy mired in multi-pronged crises. Foreign-reserves’ crunch, massive unemployment, devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, high inflation are among the challenges it will need to grapple with. One of the fundamental causes of the economic crisis are energy imports. This dependence on energy import has crippled Pakistan. Meeting almost 85 percent of the energy demand through imports weighs heavily on Pakistan’s trade and current account deficit. To address these challenges on an economic front, Pakistan needs to enhance the domestic production of Oil & Gas on war-footing by removing the structural constraints.  Proven oil & gas reserves are enough to meet national demand and make the country self-sufficient but lack of a conducive policy and regulatory environment hinders the boosting of domestic exploration and production. Introduction of a proposed petroleum policy, given the acronym of HELP (HYDROCARBON EXPLORATION AND LICENSING POLICY) and a regulatory environment will be the main challenge. The Report finds that unnecessary regulatory burdens could be reduced through new institutional arrangements — principally the new hydrocarbon exploration & licensing policy,   establishment of an upstream regulator along with implementation of best practices in regulatory principles in all jurisdictions. The objective of this brief report is to help government make better Oil & Gas Exploration policy for self-reliance in production. It charts out a roadmap for exploration of hydrocarbons to make the country self-sufficient in minimum lead time and set it on a new trajectory of economic growth. The report reviews and highlights shortcomings in petroleum policies and suggests reforms to be able to attain self-sufficiency. I would like to express my gratitude for the support of eminent energy expert Engineer MA Jabbar Memon, who provided me the chance to work on Oil and Gas Exploration Regulations. Engineer Jabbar and Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri has not only motivated me to identify significant unnecessary costs from delays and uncertainties in obtaining approvals, duplication of compliance requirements, and inconsistent administration of regulatory processes but also reviewed the report very minutely. This report aims to set the context for deliberations for achieving self-reliance in oil & gas production as a national mission at the earliest. Feedback and suggestions from industry experts, members of the media, National Assembly, Senate members and civil society are welcome. I am also grateful to the experts who have taken the time to provide feedback on the draft report. List of testimonial is attached.