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Experts declare disarray in claims of Prime Minister

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(BN Web Desk) Experts refuted these high claims Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement of discovering the biggest oil and gas reserves in Pakistan’s deep sea has shocked the Petroleum Division authorities and left them clueless. Drilling up to the required depth of 5,500 meters will complete by the end of April.

The Kekra-1 well, G block has been drilled to a depth of 37,000 meters. Imran repeated the statement that Pakistan is in the way of exploring massive oil and gas reserves without having the know-how of the impacts of this statement on the stock exchange businesses while talking to media persons on Monday. Nevertheless, the last drilling detailed showed that it was drilled at a depth of 3,700 meters which is far away from 5,500 meters. Hence, it too early to make an announcement like this.

A top official said, “I don’t know who was briefing the premier at this stage that a major discovery was on the cards.” He further said that earlier in Kekra-1 well the drilling was done to a depth of 4,900 meters and then a high pressure was felt causing huge mud loss and because of unsafe operation the well was blocked. After that the first sidetracking started and reached 3,100 meters, it again failed due to which a second side tracking started and its underway owing to which the well is drilled by 3,700 meter. ENI, an Italian company, is the operator of the Kekra well-1. Exxon Mobile, OGDCL and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) are the sleeping partners of the joint venture. The drilling activities at Kekra-1 well were started with $75-80 million by a joint venture with 25 percent share each

He further said, “there were two types of pressure kicks; one’s called the water pressure kick and the other gas pressure kick and the well at the depth of 4,800 meters was plugged because of kick pressure owing to which drilling activities had to be halted on account of huge mud loss.” However, sources said that when Mr. Irtiza Sayyed CEO ExxonMobile contacted, he said he was traveling and it was better to ask the ENI which was the lead operation of Kekra-1. Kamran Mian, ENI country representative didn’t respond to any question saying he was not allowed to give details regarding the project of exploration because of the protocols.

Sher Afghan additional secretary and spokesman for the Petroleum Division confirmed that during the drilling they reached a depth of 4,800 meters and the sudden kick pressure came up causing unevenness to the drilling structure causing the mud loss.

The company had to again dig the well by 1,500 meters. He further confirmed the statement that the first sidetracking failed and the second one is underway.

“The probability of discovery was 19 percent, but after two trackings, the probability had reduced,” said the former special secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural resources, GA Sabri prior to the drilling.

He further stated, “target was 5,500 meters and ExxonMobile was yet to go 1800 meters deep and kick pressure was no sign of a major discovery.” He said TOTAL had earlier spud the well in G Block and its depth target was 5,000 meter, but it abandoned the well just before 5,000-meter depth ensuring no discovery.

A former OGDCL drilling engineer, Ghulam Mustafa said that formation pressure was on the higher side whereas mud was on the lower side due to which when high pressure came out the structure got imbalanced. Conversely, he still wants to know why the well is blocked despite the fact that it could be managed.

Mustafa added, “Rigs with high technology were being used for ultra-deep exploration activities having the capacity to initiate sidetracking from five sides.” He talked about his experiences of exploration activities at another well and said that tracking was done from four sides but all actions met failure.

DG Petroleum Concessions Qazi Saleem said, “Opening investment of $75-80 million for drilling activities were usually considered in the world of oil and gas as the sunk investment assuming the well emerges as dried one.” Drilling activity is considered a risky business which is why fewer investments are done in this factor and the investments are called sunk investments. He also shed some light on 17 wells in the country and how all of the activities conducted there met failure. Highlighting the background of the drilling activities done in the past in an ultra-deep sea of Pakistan, he said the first offshore well was drilled in 1963 by the US Company Sun Oil but the well was found dried.

He also enlightened us regarding the history of drilling activities and told, “In 1976, Marathon Oil Company from the US endeavored for drilling, but nothing was discovered. In 1978, Husky Company from Canada also spud the well, but no success was met.” Then after seven years’ time, it was OGDCL that spud the well in 1985, but again no discovery was made. Likewise, in 1989, Occidental company explored the well but that too went dried. In 1992, Canterbury from New Zealand and in 1999-2000 Ocean company from US spud two wells but both went dried. In 2004, TOTAL — a French company — also explored one well but that was also abandoned.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited tried in 2005 and Shell from the Netherlands endeavored in 2007 and Shark-1 went in 2010 for drilling in Pakistan’s deep sea but all went in vain. In total, 17 serious attempts were made for wells drilling for oil and gas, but nothing was discovered.

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