ISLAMABAD (APP) - A major oil and gas discovery is needed to meet the growing energy demand as the annual increase by almost 10 percent in gas consumption is widening the gap between demand and supply. "The net demand for natural gas has increased by almost 10 percent annually during fiscal year 2000-01 to 2007-08, reaching around 3,200m cubic feet per day (MMcfd) in the corresponding year against the total production of 3,774 MMcfd," according to official sources. But, during the current financial year the demand for natural gas has exceeded the available supply, where production of 4528 MMcfd gas is being projected against the requirement of 4731 MMcfd, showing a shortfall of 203 MMcfd. If the present situation continues, the total indigenous supplies are projected to go down by 69pc to 1,157 MMcfd by FY 2026-27 from current level of 3774 MMcfd, creating a gap of 6,919 MMcfd between demand and supply of the commodity, they added. The sources said exploration and production companies must explore new oil and gas fields in the country, while the supplies from the existing fields also remain in progression to overcome the scarcity. A study revealed that at present gas supply is available to about 17 percent of the country's population for domestic use. The existing domestic demand (constrained) is mostly in urban and semi- urban areas where natural gas distribution system has been laid and also some rural areas in proximity to the gas network. The demand in commercial, industrial, power and CNG sectors are also considerably more than the currently available supplies. The constraints are inadequate local production and non-availability of gas network in many areas of the country. They said, realizing the importance of the enhancement in the indigenous gas production, the government is ensuring to provide greater incentives for investment in the exploration of petroleum in the country. Besides, the govt has set a target of drilling 100 new oil and gas exploratory wells during the year 2009 to meet the growing energy demand. A major discovery can change the picture drastically. Success rate in oil and gas exploration is 'very high' in Pakistan as compared to other discoveries at international level, the sources further said. This figure shows that after almost every three to four drillings there is a find, while at international level discovery comes after eight to ten attempts. Now off-shore drilling has been started in the country and foreign companies operating here are extremely hopeful that there will be massive gas discoveries in off-shore drilling. The exploration activities are also being intensified in Balochistan's area of Kohlu, which is famous for having natural resources in abundance, they maintained.