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Four oil firms complete offshore drilling near Karachi coast

Four oil firms complete offshore drilling near Karachi coast

KARACHI: A consortium of four major oil exploration companies has completed the offshore drilling process near the southern port city of Karachi in Pakistan after a hard work of four months.

According to the local media reports on Tuesday, ExxonMobil, ENI, Oil and Gas Development Company, and Pakistan Petroleum Limited are conducting the drill stem test to determine the real size of the oil and gas reserves in the Kekra-1 well, located around 280 km away from Karachi.

The joint venture of four oil giants spudded the Kekra-1 well to the depth of 5,470 m at a cost of Rs14 billion.

According to the officials in the Ministry of Petroleum, the Drill Stem Test would be completed in the next three days. After the completion of the Drill Stem Test, a report will be prepared about the total quantity of the oil and gas reserves within a week.

They further stated that the initial tests had estimated the availability of around 9 trillion cubic feet of gas with a large quantity of oil in the Kekra-1 well, which had excited the nation, including Prime Minister Imran Khan who openly spoke about it on numerous occasions.

The four-firm joint venture had started the offshore drilling process on Jan. 11, 2019, which was expected to be completed by March. However, the process was delayed by critical issues, but ENI stayed committed to the completion of the offshore drilling.

The technical problems during the offshore drilling forced the drilling team to spend an additional 100 million U.S. dollars to procure surplus steel and cement because the team had to change the direction of the drilling process of the Kekra-1 well.

The Petroleum Ministry officials informed the local media that changing the direction of the drilling was a challenging task because the joint venture was running out of time to complete the drilling process as sea waves generally become unstable by the end of May. The stability of a drilling ship by the end of May would have been quite a daunting task, they added.

They informed that within the next 10 days, the joint venture team would be able to determine the actual size of the oil and gas discovery. According to senior officials of the Petroleum Ministry, the necessary infrastructure would be erected in the sea for oil and gas exploration only if the price of total reservoir quantity was worth more than 10 billion U.S. dollars.

The economic experts believe that if the four major oil exploration companies are able to find the reservoir quantity according to the estimates, it would cut down Pakistan’s oil import bill by 6 billion U.S. dollars every year.