ISLAMABAD  - Appreciating the country’s growing energy needs in view of dwindling oil and gas reserves, the government has put up an impressive effort, adopting a multi-pronged approach to keep pace for tackling such challenges.

The government succeeded to register a rising trend in exploration work during the current financial year, spudding 73 wells and making 18 discoveries, which reflects clear indication of fast moving progress. As matching efforts, a clear roadmap-to explore indigenous hydrocarbon resources and to augment energy chain through imported supplies was worked out and pursued accordingly, which yielded results over the year.

A pains-taking phase to evolve consensus among the provinces was tactfully handled and the government successfully awarded 50 petroleum exploration blocks to eight companies including local and foreign companies to exploit domestic resources through exploring hidden wealth of hydrocarbon resources.

Out of 50 blocks, 21 are located in Balochistan, 15 in Punjab, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and six in Sindh and these blocks were offloaded at right time since it adds, the country had exhausted more than half of the original domestic recoverable oil reserves.Similarly, the worrisome factor is that gas reserves aredepleting and if gas consumption grows annually even at moderaterates and the present recoverable reserves will largely be exhausted by 2025.

The source reveals original recoverable reserves on June30, 2013 were1,102.6 million barrels with 731.5 million barrels (68 per cent) cumulative production of oil and 371 million barrels (32 per cent) balance recoverable reserves.

The government also successfully utilized the available developed oil source, posting the local crude extraction 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. Given the fact that LPG, which production had recorded at 1000 tons per day, is fast becoming a choice in the areas where natural gas distribution network is not available, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) issued two licenses for construction of LPG storage and filling plants during July-December 2013.

In addition, the authority has also issued 15 licenses for construction ofLPG auto refueling stations in the country and during the same period the LPG infrastructure development witnessed Rs 0.264 billion where as the total investment in the sector till end of this fiscal year is estimated about Rs 17.464 billion.Similarly, the natural gas and LPG are considered as cheaper than oil, but both are expensive than coal and fortunately Pakistan has huge coal resources estimated to exceed 185 billion tons which generally ranks from lignite to sub-bituminous. To supplement energy availability thorough imports, the government succeeded to have first shipment of 200 mmcfd of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) soon.

According to official source, the current gas production meets only 50 per cent of the national requirements, thus efforts were being made to import LNG to bridge the gap.The government had succeeded to award contract for building a terminal at Port Qasim and preparations were underway to start construction work on the terminal to start import of import 200 mmcfd, which would be enhanced to 400 mmcfd at later stages.

The process had been started to acquire 350,000 tons of LNG at international market, which would be a long way in reinforcing the current energy supplies in the country.

Similarly during the one year, the government provided over Rs 20 billion in subsidy on the petroleum price increases to ward off masses from its inflationary pressure.The government kept prices of petroleum products either unchanged or decreased in nearly eight months during last year.