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The News

Published Date: Mar 19, 2014

Pakistan needs to develop shale oil, gas: SDPI

Pakistan
needs to go for development of shale oil and gas, which is sufficient to
fulfill the gas and oil demand for almost next 50 years, according to a
study on Tuesday.

The study titled “Shale oil and gas
launched by the Energy Unit of the Sustainable Development Policy
Institute (SDPI), revealed that by achieving this self-sufficiency
through the development of these resources, the country will be able to
save $15 billion, thus, eliminates trade deficit. “One advantage that
indigenous Shale gas may have for Pakistan is that even at prices around
$10-12 per mmbtu in the initial phases, the shale gas will have great
economic benefits for Pakistan, especially in terms of job creation,”
said Engr Arshad H Abbasi, the lead author of the report.

The report also showed that the shale gas exploration and production have the potential to transform Pakistan’s economy.

Not
only is shale gas abundant in Pakistan but it is also cheap and
environment-friendly. Therefore, shale gas definitely offers an
opportunity, which if exploited effectively, can help revolutionise the
energy mix existing within the country, it revealed.

The
effects of shale gas can be far-reaching, and, therefore, it needs to be
given adequate importance at the highest Level. SDPI has recommended to
the government to convene a meeting of a special task force on shale
gas and oil development.

The report informs that the
development of shale oil and gas is more labour intensive as compared to
conventional resources, especially the drilling phase, which can
accommodate both skilled and semiskilled labour.

It is
estimated that around 75,000 jobs will be generated during the
exploration of shale oil and gas and would offer sustainable livelihoods
in least developed areas.

Moreover, after successful
shale gas reservoir deliverability test, a new venue of investment will
be opened for investors and generate massive economic activity across
the country, it showed, adding that the shale gas exploration and
production may have the ability to transform Pakistan’s economy and
revolutionise the existing energy mix within the country.

The
newly-launched report looked at the importance of developing shale oil
and gas for Pakistan as a step towards reducing energy deficiency in the
country. It also dilates upon the potential of gaining an economic edge
that the exploration of shale gas would entail for Pakistan in South
Asia.

This is followed by an investigation into the state
of the shale gas reserves of the country and the difficulties associated
with the exploration process along with an environmental impact
assessment.

Moreover, the report discusses the generation
of economic activity through shale gas exploration and the benefits
that can be accrued to thousands of Pakistanis who are in need of
sources of sustainable livelihoods. This study for documents, for the
first time, the history of development of natural gas industry in
Pakistan, looking at the root causes of the gigantic energy crisis;
followed by comprehensive analysis of the trends and dynamics of the
natural gas market. The advent of shale gas in North America has not
only revolutionised the global natural gas market but has also
transformed the global energy landscape. Inspired by the economic impact
and growth driven by shale gas in the US, other countries outside North
America are now actively pursuing the development of unconventional
resources to decrease their dependence on oil imports.

The
report highlights that not only US but Canada, China and Poland have
been successful in producing natural gas through these plays, while
countries such as Argentina, India and Mexico are still striving to
develop these resources, yet they face challenges in doing so.

The
report also looks at the unique nature of shale gas plays, and the
unique challenges in case of each country, calling attention to an
understanding of reservoir chemistry and geology through data gathering
and data modelling.

However, this framework towards a
national energy doctrine based on indigenous resources could not have
been completed without the immense support and constructive remarks from
experts, intellectuals and professionals, stretching from the
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the shores of Sindh, and even abroad.