Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Big is Pakistan's Oil Discovery?

How Big is Pakistan's Oil Discovery?

Aug 20 2018 Read 11484 Times

In a move that has investors buzzing, ExxonMobil has announced it's on the verge of discovering huge oil reserves in Pakistan. The focus is on a corner of the country close to the Iranian border, with Pakistani Minister for Maritime Affairs and Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Hussain Haroon claiming the reserves could trump those found in Kuwait.

Speaking at a recent Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) meeting, Haroon confirmed that Exxon has been carrying out exploration projects near the Iranian border and that the American-owned supermajor is optimistic about discovering profitable reserves.

“Foreign investors are interested in coming to Pakistan, provided we manage to meet their standards and attract them to make investment,” he said.

Pakistan set to join world's top oil producing countries

If the discovery is as large as Haroon hopes, it could elevate Pakistan to one of the world’s top ten oil producing countries, powering ahead of nations like Kuwait. According to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Kuwait's total proved oil reserves currently sit at 101.5 billion barrels. This figure accounts for 6% of the world's total reserves, which means Kuwait could find itself in the same oil-producing calibre as countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Russia.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil signed an agreement committing to a 25% working interest in Pakistan's offshore Indus Block G, which is co-operated by Italian major Eni and Pakistani-owned companies, Government Holdings Pvt Ltd and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

Currently, Pakistan domestic crude oil production fuels just 15% of national petroleum demand, with the remaining 85% met with imported resources. As a result, the South Asian nation has racked up a large current account deficit and spends a significant chunk of its foreign exchange reserves on foreign oil imports.

Critics accuse Pakistan of luring investors with lofty announcements

While there is a chance the reserves could top the 100-billion-barrel mark, critics have been quick to point out that nothing is confirmed. Such buoyant announcements are usually designed to attract foreign investment, with a similar move seen in April when Bahrain oil minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa announced that the nation had discovered an estimated 80 billion barrels of oil and up to 20 trillion cubic feet of gas.

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