Published Date: Sep 4, 2013
Shale gas, oil: Pakistan has world’s ninth largest reserves: minister
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on
Tuesday claimed that Pakistan has world’s 9th largest shale gas and oil
reserves which are far greater than the total resources available in
Central Asian states. He shared this information with the participants
of a conference “Afghanistan Reconnected liking energy suppliers to
consumers in Asia,” organised by EastWest Institute under the auspices
of Abu Dhabi process meeting at a local hotel.
“Recent international reports indicate huge potential reserves
of shale gas and oil resources in Pakistan. In fact Pakistan is 9th
largest in reserves in the world. This potential can change the dynamics
for energy sector for Pakistan. The SDPI studies shows that Pakistan’s
oil reserves are 33 billion Ton of Oil Equivalent (TOE), gas reserves
are 16 billion TOE and hydropower potential 70 million TOE which are far
greater than available reserves in other countries of the region,” he
The meeting was attended by the government representatives,
members of parliament, power sector experts, private sector and
academia. The objective of the meeting was to have frank discussion
amongst the stakeholders on regional energy security and regional energy
trade. In reply to different questions raised by the participants,
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated that Pakistan will pursue Iran Pakistan Gas
Pipeline Project (IP), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI)
gas project and CASA-1000, adding that international sanctions do not
apply on IP project. Later, talking to Business Recorder, the minister said that he will undertake a visit to Iran very soon to meet his counterpart.
Earlier, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in his speech said Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Central Asia are on the forefront of regional transition to
an energy based economy. Energy security is a key priority in the
region and in the rest of the world all countries face the global
challenges of energy security and sustainability. Afghanistan and
Pakistan share a long common border and are trade partners since
centuries. The formal and informal trade between Pakistan and
Afghanistan is estimated to be over $6 billion a year. Afghanistan was
fourth largest importer of Pakistani goods in 2013. The two countries
have unique history and share geo-political concerns which despite
adversity over years can be translated into beneficial ties. Pakistan
will continue to extend assistance in facilitating the transition to a
peaceful and strong Afghanistan in the post-ISAF period.
The visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week will allow
the relations between the two countries to strengthen. During his visit
Pakistan and Afghanistan signed several agreements on improved links
between the two countries. Torkham-Jalalabad road and Peshawar-Kabul
road will serve to create greater and better trade and economic links.
The countries have also agreed to implement the Afghanistan Pakistan
Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) in totality.
He added, “There exists substantial possibility of energy
co-operation between the two countries and within the region. There are
several projects in the pipeline to exploit this potential as the world
has become more globalise. International interests are tying us unlike
the past. Common electricity grid stations, coal trading, sharing
technology developments and even carbon emissions provide great
potential for exploiting the regional and local resources. Pakistan and
Afghanistan have a great responsibility and a challenge. Pakistan faces
its own challenges to have a secure energy future but Afghanistan’s
needs are obvious.”
In Afghanistan about 63 percent of energy needs are met by oil,
27 percent by solid bio fuel, five percent through hydel resources 0.2
percent through natural gas and five percent through local coal and
peat. The country’s installed capacity is about 600 MW of which only 6
percent is generated through renewable resources. Only 15 percent
population has access to electricity and remaining population uses solid
fuel. This highlights the challenges that Afghanistan faces and at the
same time it also provided opportunity to both countries to cooperate to
meet these challenges, the minister said.
“We need to identify areas of co-operation in energy and
governance between the two countries,” he maintained. Pakistan can
easily integrate Afghanistan’s needs in developing a comprehensive
energy strategy for both countries. Pakistan has great energy resources
which need to be exploited. Pakistan’s hydel potential is about 150,000
MW. Pakistan has very large lignite coal reserves in Sindh which need to
“We have a fairly stable geology and consistent water flow which
allows Pakistan’s hydropower potential to be exploited as fully as
possible but this potential needs to be tapped,” he continued. The
location of Pakistan’s hydropower projects makes it imminently possible
to easily supply to Afghanistan. Recent international reports indicate
huge potential reserves of shale gas and oil resources in Pakistan.
However, substantial technological and financial investment is needed to
exploit the resources particularly in the case of shale oil and gas.
We are in the process of developing policies to attract
investment for the exploitation of resources especially shale oil and
gas. “Pakistan will assist its neighbour Afghanistan and recommends the
following framework. First, Pakistani universities will offer capacity
building programmes and create institutional arrangements with its
Afghan counterparts in the oil & gas sector. Second, Pakistan
assures Afghanistan to help its geological surveys, as Pakistani
geologists and engineers have developed the Indus Basin Study on the
same pattern. Third, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda)
has developed three large dams and the Wapda academy will be able to
offer training to Afghan engineers in hydropower. Fourth, Pakistan will
be able to offer engineering consulting services in developing small
hydropower dams. Afghanistan’s Badakhshan area has great potential for
micro-hydro technology, and Pakistan will assist it in all aspects.
Moreover, the countries should cooperate in the wind energy sector as
Afghanistan’s Panjshir province has enormous potential in wind energy.
Regarding power and energy corridor Pakistan is looking towards
intra-country transmission lines, common grid and Pakistan can assist
Afghanistan in development of infrastructure. Pakistan has largest
electricity and gas distribution systems. We also hope to double the LPG
production in next two years which will provide an opportunity to
export LPG to Afghanistan. We are also in the process of developing LNG
supply system in Pakistan. The first LNG cargo is expected to be
offloaded sometimes late next year. Pakistan can offer help to
Afghanistan with coal resources which will be exploited in the next
three to five years.
He maintained that Pakistan is committed to co-operating in
energy with the regional countries. “Intensive partnerships are needed
towards cleaner and more efficient solutions to regional energy needs.
Pakistan will work with its neighbours and the international community
to ensure secure energy future of our generations,” he added.
Ambassador Dr Beate Maedar-Metcalf highlighted the purpose of
second Abu Dhabi process meeting, hoping that the participants gathered
from different countries will make positive recommendations on regional
energy trade with special focus on Afghanistan.
Ambassador Sapar Berfiniyazov of Turkmenistan stressed on early
completion of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas
pipeline which is far from reality despite the fact it was started a
decade ago. He also apprised the participants that an agreement was
signed with the previous Nawaz Sharif government for electricity deal
but it could not be materialised so far.
“Nawaz government was ready to implement the agreement but the
government changed. Projects of national importance should not be
politicised,” he added. Participants urged the government to complete
TAPI and other energy related projects.
Syed Naveed Qamar, former Minister for Petroleum and Natural
Resources criticised the Petroleum Minister for claiming that Pakistan
has 9th largest reserves of shale gas and oil. “The minister’s statement
will make headlines in the media. This claim should have been proven
first then such statements should be given,” he added. Abbasi, however,
argued that he has spoken about estimates and let the experts prove it.
Ikram Sehgal, Member of EastWest Institute Board of Directors
commended all the participants who came from other countries. He argued
that focus on energy in Pakistan at this juncture is very important for
the country. He also clashed with D.N Raina President Entecsol
International India for insisting that Pakistan import electricity from
India and claiming that transmission system can be installed within six
months. There was also argument and counter argument over installation
of transmission system and conversion of AC to DC.
Sehgal argued that since India is generating electricity from
dams constructed on rivers in held Kashmir in violation of the Indus
Water Treaty, hence Pakistan should not be in a hurry to import
electricity from India. However, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated that
controversial water issues are being taken up at appropriate fora.
Dr Najam Abbas, Senior Fellow at the EastWest Institute
disclosed that China and UAE have offered to invest in TAPI gas project.
Farkhood Bilolov, Deputy Chief, International Relations Department,
Ministry of Energy and Industry, Tajikistan spoke about energy potential
of his country. Dr S Frederick Starr, senior research professor and
Chairman Central Asia, Caucasus Institute, Johns Hopkins University,
Washington also supported TAPI and CASA projects. He argued that both
projects are viable but stakeholders have to invest in the pipeline