ISLAMABAD - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has asked the federal government to issue No Objection Certificate (NOC) to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil & Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) for utilisation of surface seepage crude oil and gas in the province.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Parvez Khattak via letter DO NO PS/CMS/KPK/2017/ dated March 13, 2017, has asked the Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to issue NOC to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil & Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) for utilisation of dangerously seeping oil and gas. The copy of the letter available with The Nation said that “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a number of active oil and gas seepages, where the oil is oozing out of the earth and flowing into riverines and waterways, which is causing damage to water table, fertile land, agriculture and crops. There have been severe human burns due to ignition of oozing gas. Above all, if oil is not drained soonest, an earthquake may cause fracture destroying the water table of Khyber Pakhtunkwa especially Peshawar.”

“The oil being wasted can be put to use at ARL and gas can be used for local economic activities or injected into the national grid. The KP government has already received NOC from DG oil about one year ago, while NOC from DGPC is still awaited. I earnestly look forward for an affirmative response in this matter,” the letter said.

On January 18, 2016, Directorate General Oil has issued NOC to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil & Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) to supply 25,000 litres per week of Qamar Crude oil (Surface Seepage) to Attock Refinery Limited, however despite the passage of 14 months the Directorate General Petroleum Concession (DGPC) is using delaying tactics in the issuance of the NOC.

An official of the KP government told The Nation, the capacity of the province for the supply of seepage oil is much higher and there are a lot of areas in various oil producing districts of KP which can provide seepage crude oil and gas. The official said that KP can provide up to 40,000 litres per day of seepage crude to the refinery. “Our capacity is about million litres a month,” the official added.

The official said that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has already asked the Director General Petroleum Concession to provide the price mechanism for the crude oil. The official said that out of the revenue generated from the sale of seepage oil about 12.5 percent royalty will go to the provincial government, while another 13 percent will be its cost. The remaining will go to the KPOGCL, the official added.

Regarding the Qamar Dhok seepage, the official said that since 1990 crude oil is being extracted within the vicinity of Gumbat Area. In 4 Sq Km grid area about 80 dug wells are drilled by the locals for digging out of crude oil using conventional methods such as tube wells drilling, the official added. The residents of the area, while using conventional means, are extracting about 300 litres of crude per day. Similarly, in the vicinity of Qamar Dhok village the locals have installed more than 20 wells. 25,000 litres of crude oil was sold by just one resident, the official claimed.

The official said that the crude oil extracted daily by residents is being sold in market at cost of Rs40-50 per litre. The crude oil is being used for operating the electric generators and other vehicles.

Besides, other areas in Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Karak,Bannu, Landi Kotal and Nowshera also have the oil and gas seepages. In Mughal Kot, 91 Km away from main city DI Khan, crude oil is extracted by the natives, the official said. Crude oil is being extracted since last 15 years within the vicinity of Mughal Kot village Sukkarma Landa. In 3 Sq Km grid area, about eight oil seepages were spotted. The residents of the area are extracting 350 litres of crude oil per day.

There is gas seepage in Landi Kotal Bazaar, located approximately 38 km north of Peshawar. In Dara Bain, located in District Tank, gas seepage is occurring from centuries, the official informed. This is an active gas seep and the gas is used by local shepherds for cooking and heating purposes. The gas is actively coming out from the fissures and cracks developed in the rocks.

Besides, there are other gas seepages spotted in Kojha Kalaa of Bannu district, Barganath Nala 3 kilometer from Waziristan border, and Azakhel in District Nowshera.

The residents don’t have latest technology to explore all the crude oil present within the subsurface. The traditional way of drilling in a very shallow depth is wasting the crude oil which may cause continuous loss, the official said.

However, if the government deepen the wells using latest technology, the production from these spots may be made commercial. The commercial withdrawal of this plenty crude oil is important and necessary because this huge reservoir will deplete due to geological phenomenon that usually happen within the subsurface, the official maintained.