By Askari, Rifat
Economic Review , Vol. 26, No. 2
Exploration Activities in Sindh
The history of oil and gas exploration in Sindh dates back to 1893 when first well Sukkur-1 was drilled by the Government of Bombay. However, it was not until 1957 when first gas discovery was made at Khairpur by the British Oil Company. The first giant Mari gasfield was also discovered in the same year by Standard Vacuum. Exploration activities were accelerated in Pakistan in 1950s after the giant Sui and Mari gasfields. However, failure to discover oil fields discouraged exploration and it declined sharply in the late fifties. To revive exploration the Government of Pakistan established Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) in 1961.
After great efforts, OGDC made its first success in 1966, when first gasfield Sari was discovered in the province of Sindh. However, the thrust of exploration remained in the Potwar area as Sindh was considered to be gas prone area. Limited exploration efforts were therefore diverted to this region. During 1947-1980 a total number of 104 exploration wells were drilled in the country including 35 in Sindh. In the 1970s, OGDC updated its technology and re-evaluated the potential prospects. As a result, OGDC discovered Khothar gasfield in 1973 and a single well Rodho gasfield in 1974. These discoveries and the amendments to the petroleum regulations that became effective in 1976 acted as an inducement to foreign oil companies. Taxas Gulf applied for additional acreage, while Houston Oil and Minerals, Occidental, Murphy, Gulf and others showed considerable interest.
However, exploratory drilling did not accelerate until 1981, the year in which first oil field was discovered in the Lower Indus Basin (Badin Sindh) by Union Taxas Pakistan Inc., thus negating the old concept that Sindh was a gas prone region. Following this discovery exploration activities increased significantly in the country, particularly in Sindh.
From 1981 to December 1994, a total of 198 exploration wells were drilled in the country out of which 142 were drilled in Sindh. Till December 1994, 100 oil and gasfields have been discovered in Pakistan including 64 oil and gasfields in Sindh alone (oil 37 and gas 27). OGDC, the major oil company of Pakistan is quite active in petroleum exploration in Sindh province since first oil discovery was made by UTP in 1981. Up to December, 1994 OGDC has drilled 65 exploration and 38 development wells. Out of 65 exploration wells 23 oil and gas discoveries were made.
At the end of 1994, Sindh was contributing about 35 percent of indigenous gas production. Sindh's share of gas production is expected to further increase as OGDC's Qadirpur gas field (Phase-1 200 MMCFD) and kadanwari (175 MMCFD) a joint venture with LASMO will come on line in 1995. Another 140 MMCFD from Qadirpur (Phase-II December 1996) is expected. As a result of these two gasfields by OGDC and number of other gas fields discovered by other companies. Sindh gas share is expected to increase substantially.
Presently, OGDC's 10 oil fields in Sindh province are producing 13,500 barrels per day (BPD). This crude is transported to Karachi by bouzers for refining purpose. The Sindh's share of oil production will further increase as OGDC is installing four jet pumps in its Tando Alam Complex while the recently discovered Mithro gas condensate will also add significantly to the production of Hydrocarbon in Sindh.
Oil discoveries in Sanghar South (Lower Goru Formation) and a gas discovery at Kadanwari in the North (Basal Part of Lower Goru) has extended the prospectivity of the area. Therefore, OGDC has deployed two seismic parties in Sanghar-North and Sangbar-South to acquire additional seismic data. OGDC is making all possible efforts to discover more oil and gas in this part of the country.
An important aspect of production operations during the 7th Five Year Plan was the strategy of rapidly developing the newly discovered oil and gasfields and increasing the production from producing fields to an optimum level. …