Sarwar highlights govt efforts to meet ever growing energy needs

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 11 (APP):Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan Monday highlighted the government efforts to meet energy needs of the country, which are increasing by 8 percent annually.
“We have a huge challenge to arrange the best and cost-efficient fuel mix to meet our annual needs which are growing at over 8% per annum,” he said while addressing an international conference on Pakistan’s petroleum sector, organized by a private media group here.He said the government had constituted an ‘Energy Task Force’ to tackle the challenges in petroleum sector and make the energy supplies affordable, reliable and sustainable. “This Task Force will soon provide a comprehensive road-map to help address the energy issues.”
Due to effective strategy of the government, the minister said, many local and foreign business groups were expanding their mid and down-stream presence and setting up modern refineries and retail chains in Pakistan.
Ghulam Sarwar predicted substantial growth in oil trade and transportation sector after the successful execution of China Pakistan Economic Corridor project and business activities along the CPEC’s route.
Terming energy an essential driver of the national economy, he said Pakistan required affordable and dependable energy supplies to support its economic growth.
He said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was striving hard to attract investment in oil and gas exploration sector.
He said Pakistan needed self-sufficiency in oil refining sector, for which an effective strategy was in place and the government had announced an incentive package for setting up deep conversion oil facilities in the country.
Oil and gas exploration and production companies were being encouraged to accelerate drilling activities in potential areas, adding that the government was in process of awarding more blocks in coming days.
He said currently the country’s natural gas production was 4,000 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD), while crude oil production stood over 95,000 barrels oil per day (BOPD). “Through this, we are meeting just 15% of our needs.”
The minister said Pakistan had a large offshore basin which largely remained unexplored. “The Indus offshore is the second largest submarine fan system in the world and analogous to the prolific oil and gas producing Niger, Mahakam, Nile deltas and Krishna Godavari Basin.”
He said presently ExxonMobil, Eni, OGDCL and PPL were carrying out offshore drilling in Kekra-I block and expecting sufficient gas and oil deposits.
Besides, he said a recent study had revealed presence of 95 trillion cubic feet gas and 14 billion barrels oil technically recoverable in Indus Basin.
The minister said the government had recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a major Russian company to establish an offshore gas pipeline. While, work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is progressing and it’s a very important project to meet our energy requirements,” he added.