ISLAMABAD -The Petroleum Division (PD) has planned to auction 27 new exploration and production (E&P) blocks, out of which 20 would be advertized in October and seven in December aimed at stepping up oil and gas drilling activities in different hydrocarbon potential areas of the country.

“The advertisement for award of 20 E&P blocks will be given in the first week of October, while seven offshore blocks will be offered in December,” a senior official privy to petroleum sector developments told APP.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was fully aware of the prevailing energy situation in the country and taking all possible measures to meet the existing and future needs in the oil and gas sector in an efficient manner. The official said the country’s existing gas reserves were depleting at the rate of 9.5 percent annually and unfortunately E&P companies made no significant discovery since long.

Currently, he said, local gas production was around 3.7 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD) against the demand of 6 BCFD gas. He said the previous governments of PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party did not give due attention to increase oil and gas exploration activities, which resulted in energy crisis in the country. 

The previous government of PML-N had not awarded even a single E&P block during its five year tenure, due to which the gap between demand and supply of gas was increasing gradually. Cognizant of the situation, the official said the PTI government, after coming into power, had started a bidding round in September 2018 and subsequently awarded almost 10 new E&P blocks to expedite drilling activities.

He said a new block took almost 4-5 years in giving any result as it involved different phases including studies, testing, drilling, and installation of processing plans and pipelines.

The country’s total sedimentary area was around 827,268 square kilometers, out of which 320, 741 KM or 39 percent of the area was under exploration, he said.