ISLAMABAD- The govt spent $ 4.3b on import of petroleum crude from July-March 2014 compared to $4.0 billion in corresponding period last year, posting a growth of 6.2 per cent. According to Economic Survey released by the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at a press conference here Monday, the country’s import of crude oil remained 44.9 million barrels during the same period compared to 40.9 million barrels in corresponding period last year, reflecting 11 per cent growth. However, the document said local crude extraction posted a  growth of 12 per cent as it stood at 23 million barrels in July-March 2014 compared to 20.5 million barrels in corresponding period last year.

Realizing that oil and gas reserves are dwindling, the government has accelerated its efforts and this year awarded 50 petroleum exploration blocks to eight companies including local and foreign companies.

The document said the country had exhausted more than half of the original domestic recoverable oil reserves, necessitating solid measures for exploring more oil and gas reserves to meet the growing energy needs.

The document reveals original recoverable reserves on June 30, 2013 were  1,102.6 million barrels with 731.5 million barrels (68 per cent) cumulative production of oil and 371 million barrels (32 per cent) balance recoverable reserves.  Similarly the worrisome factor is that gas reserves are depleting and if gas consumption grows annually even at moderate rates and the present recoverable reserves will largely be exhausted by 2025. The document said when this limit approaches the marginal cost of gas supplies will rise.