ISLAMABAD - While announcing three new oil and gas discoveries, Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that number of discoveries made during past four years of the incumbent government have reached to 101.

However, the minister acknowledged that so far the government has failed to make any new discovery in the mineral-rich Balochistan province. Addressing a press conference on Monday, he said that all the new discoveries have been made in Sindh by three different E&P companies. He said the discoveries made by PEL, OGDCL and United Energy Pakistan will produce around 52.5 mmcfd gas and 765 bpd oil.

Replying a query, the minister said that there would be zero gas loadshedding in the next winter season, however there could be 'local problem' of low pressure in certain localities, which was being removed. Giving the detail about the new discoveries, Abbasi said PEL made a discovery of 24 mmcfd gas and 765 barrels of oil in Badin-IV North Exploration License at Zainab-I. This is the first discovery by PEL as the two well drilled earlier went dry, he added.

Similarly, OGDCL has made gas discovery in Thal exploration licence at Bhambhra-I in Sukkur district of Sindh. OGDCL has discovered 15 mmcfd gas in the well. While few days back United Energy Pakistan discovered 13.5 mmcfd gas in Mirpurkhas, he informed. “During the tenure of the present government we have consumed 5.2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) gas but we also added 5.4 TCF reserves. It means we have replaced more than 100 percent gas reserves consumed,” he claimed. He said that the figure of 5.4 TCF is based on the evaluation of 68 discoveries, while potential of remaining 33 finds were under evaluation.

Abbasi said that out of 101 discoveries 87 were made in Sindh and 7 each were made in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that during the present government tenure over Rs1100 billion foreign investments had poured in the country's petroleum sector. Replying to another question regarding the reason for making no discovery in Balochistan, the minister said it is matter of concern but step are being taken to improve the situation.

Exploration activities were being affected in some areas of Balochistan due to certain reasons, and the ministry had cancelled the leases of the companies in Balochistan and are inviting new biddings from the E&P companies to undertake fresh robust exploration activities in the province. Besides, he said that the government companies are being mobilised to undertake the exploration in Balochistan.

Replying another question regarding the gas theft, he said SNGPL and SSGCL have curtailed the unaccounted for gas (UFG) percentage to some extent and their efforts were continuing to overcome it completely. To another query, the minister said that earlier there were delays in the north-south pipeline but the bottleneck has been removed and now it will be executed smoothly. The pipeline is being constructed on BOT basis and the government of Pakistan will only acquire the land for the project, he added. The cost of the land is only Rs8 billion and it will be funded through GIDC, he added.