ISLAMABAD: US energy giant ExxonMobil has expressed interest in drilling more offshore blocks in search for hydrocarbon reserves and is also looking to make investment in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector in Pakistan.
Nowadays, ExxonMobil is drilling an offshore well namely Kekra-I as part of a joint venture with Italy’s Eni, Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).
During a meeting with Federal Minister for Petroleum Division Omar Ayub Khan, a delegation of ExxonMobil said they were optimistic that energy resources would be discovered at Kekra-I. The delegation was headed by ExxonMobil LNG Market Development Chairman Alex Volkov.
ExxonMobil President Irtiza Syed briefed the minister and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar about offshore drilling, saying Eni and ExxonMobil had started work on Kekra-I in January 2019.
He revealed that ExxonMobil was interested in drilling more offshore blocks and in LNG business. Apart from this, ExxonMobil could help Pakistan in framing an environment-friendly policy for offshore drilling.
The minister said Pakistan government would provide all assistance to international investors, adding that after completion of exploration work on Kekra-I, employment would be generated.
The joint venture is drilling Kekra-I well in ultra-deep waters in the Indus-G block. The well will be drilled up to the depth of 5,660 metres and the joint venture has so far reached the depth of 4,810 metres. The drilling has entered the phase where oil and gas deposits can be estimated.
The entry of ExxonMobil into Pakistan is a positive signal for the exploration and production sector of the country. The Petroleum Division has drafted Pakistan Offshore (Exploration and Production) Rules 2019 and Model Production Sharing Agreement 2019, which will be sent to the cabinet for approval.
In a bid to woo foreign investors, the government has waived duties and taxes on the import of drilling equipment.
The ExxonMobil delegation also met President Arif Alvi at Aiwan-e-Sadr, who was briefed about the company’s ongoing and future investment projects in Pakistan.
The president appreciated ExxonMobil’s entry into the LNG business and encouraged the company to make further investment in the upstream petroleum sector by taking benefit of the liberal foreign investment policy of Pakistan.
The president also underlined the need for collaboration between foreign investors and local partners by forging joint ventures.