No oil and gas found near Karachi offshore Drilling stopped, well being plugged

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KARACHI: It was Thursday, 21st March this year when Prime Minister Imran Khan gave good news to people of his country that Pakistan was on the verge of hitting a kind of jackpot in the form of discovering a huge reserve of oil and gas.

 “Just pray that our hopes and expectations from the offshore drilling being carried out by the ExxonMobil-led consortium prove to be true and he himself will let the people know very soon” he promised. His ruling party PTI took it as good omen for the government but opposition branded it just ‘political stunt and a trick to popularise the government’.

But sadly just within two months, Pakistani nation was listened a bad news instead good that no oil and gas found in that area and all efforts went in vain. This discouraging announcement was made on Saturday (18th May) by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and not by Imran Khan himself.

Now the situation is that much publicised offshore drilling work in Kekra-1 had been stopped because no reserves were found. The operators of the well have decided to plug it in the coming days thus all hopes of finding big natural sources dashed.

People are genuinely demanding that Imran Khan himself should announce this failure and take the nation into confidence. Around 17 attempts have been made in the past, but all remained unsuccessful despite encouraging data from each drilling.

Talking to a private news channel, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar announced that the offshore drilling in Kekra-1 did not yield desired results.

Kekra-1 well at Indus G-Block is located around 280 kilometres southwest of Karachi coast. A senior official of the petroleum division said that after drilling more than 5,500 metres reserves were not found therefore it had been decided to plug the well and abandon the project.

Around $100 million has been invested in the project, but the officials of the petroleum division maintain that the data received from the drilling and other seismic studies of the well will be useful for future exploration activities in the region.

The drilling was initiated around four months back by ENI, an Italian oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) giant, which is the operator of Kekra-1. The other four partners of the well were ExxonMobil of the US — one of the world’s largest oil and gas firms — Pakistan Petroleum Limited and the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

Hydrocarbon reservoir

Petroleum Division (PD) of the Energy Ministry Sunday said the results of four-month offshore drilling at Indus G-Block called Kekra-I, some 230-km off the Karachi coast, had shown good quality hydrocarbon reservoir but unfortunately these were water wet.

 “After the well control operations, the 6″ Open Hole section drilling was resumed on Friday. The reservoir was encountered at 5,492 meters and so far about 140 meters of reservoir have been drilled. The log results show a good quality reservoir but unfortunately water wet without any gas effect,” a Petroleum Division press release said.

Current depth of the well is 5,634 meters ‘Managed Depth’ and as per the plan; while another 55 meters would be drilled before proceeding with P&A (plug and abandon) operations, which has already been approved by Joint Venture Partners including Exxon. The offshore drilling is a joint venture of ENI, Exxon Mobil, Oil and Gas Development Company Limited and Pakistan Petroleum Limited. The consortium had started drilling activities on January 13, 2019.