Development of Gas Producing Fields in Pakistan

Article excerpt

In 1947, Pakistan's industrial base was almost non-existent and the country was extremely deficient in energy resources. A small production of coat and crude oil was the only form of the energy available to the country and the search for oil and gas began anew.

In 1952 Sui gas field was discovered by Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL). This discovery not led to immediate intensification of the petroleum exploration activity in the country, but also provided the basic ingredient in the formation of an industrial base for the country.

However, by the early 1980s, the requirement for natural gas increased to the point where production was barely able to meet the growing demand. Hence early development of the known reserves and exploration for additional reserves gained immense importance in the late 1980s. As a result, there have been some significant discoveries during the 1990s.

Over the entire energy history of the country, natural gas has contributed significantly towards meeting the country's energy requirements. The contribution of natural gas towards the total energy supply has been more than one-third (35-40 per cent) through all these years. Out of this, over 85 per cent contribution is from natural gas fields, whereas the rest is from oil fields producing associated natural gas.

Natural Gas Fields

So far some 35 natural gas fields have been discovered. The corresponding reserves estimate is over 31 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) out of which about 7 Tcf gas has been consumed.

The current production averages around 1,500 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) with winter peaks at 1,700 MMcfd. Some major natural gas fields contributing to this production are as follows.

Sui Gas Field

The largest gas field (recoverable reserves: 8.624 (Tcf) of the country was discovered at Sui by PPL in 1952. The pioneering efforts made by PPL in developing this field inspired local as well as international oil companies to step up their exploration activities in Pakistan.

During its first year of production in 1955 the gas sales from Sui were only 10 MMcfd as most of the industries were using fuel oil. Thereafter, the demand for Sui gas increased rapidly and its production now stands around 800 MMcfd in the 1990s.

To keep up with the growing demand a total of 86 wells were drilled by the middle of 1991. PPL also installed wellhead gas compression facilities, with total installed ISO Horsepower of 90,000 by end of 1986, for maintaining contractual delivery pressures and volumes against declining reservoir pressure. With the existing development, the field is projected to produce at the current rates till turn of the century.

Mari Gas Field

The second biggest discovery of a gas reservoir in Pakistan was made in 1957 at Mari. It is now operated by Mari Gas Company. At present, gas supply form the field is 290 MMcfd from 48 wells. A major portion of its production is supplied to fertilizer plants, viz., Engro Chemicals, Pak Saudi and Fauji. The remaining gas is delivered to Water and Power Development Authority's (WAPDA) power generation plant at Guddu.

Kandhkot Gas Field

PPL's continued exploration activities after the discovery of Sui gas field resulted in discovering a number of gas fields. These include Zin, Uch, Khairpur, Mazarani and Kandhkot. Out of these, Kandhkot gas field, located 34 km south of Sui field, is currently on production.

The development of Kandhkot field was undertaken to supply up to 30 MMcfd of gas to WAPDA for its thermal power generation station at Guddu, 56 km northeast of Kandhkot field. Further development of the field was undertaken in 1986 and the field is now supplying 100 MMcfd gas to WAPDA. Estimated recoverable reserves from Kandhkot gas field are 0.796 trillion cubic feet.

Pirkoh Gas Field

Pirkoh gas field was discovered by OGDC in 1977 with an estimated initial recoverable reserves of 1. …