ISLAMABAD: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday said Pakistan Arab Refinery Company (PARCO) was tasked with the project to complete Khalifa coastal refinery to increase oil production capacity by 250,000 barrels per day.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the refinery project which was abandoned in the past, was part of the government’s efforts to accelerate exploration and production of oil and gas.

He said the government has plans to set up more oil refineries. Recently massive shale oil and gas reserves had been discovered, he added.

The minister said a pilot project will be set up to evaluate the total cost of the shale project.

He said 70 percent of present oil demand is met through import.

For the first time licences of 16 non performing exploration companies were cancelled, he said adding bidding would be held to grant new licences for the new and existing blocks.

He said that the cross border TAPI gas pipeline project, started last December would be completed in four years.

Talks are continuing on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project as despite lifting of sanctions on Iran, two issues regarding the project were still unresolved.

Work on the project would start again after resolving these issues, he added.

The minister said import of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) has resulted in improvement of gas supply situation.

Now all the gas-based industries and fertilizer plants were getting gas. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sector is also being revived with the import of LNG, he added.

The minister said the domestic consumers will also get more gas in winter and loadshedding will reduce further, adding more LNG terminals are being set up to meet energy needs of the country.

Shahid said from October quality of imported oil would be upgraded to 92 RONS, which will improve fuel efficiency of vehicles.

He denied the impression that electricity is getting expensive due to LNG import.

The government not only increased power generation but also made the electricity more cheaper, he remarked.

The minister said six oil and gas discoveries were made in June, adding 83 discoveries were made in three years since the present federal government took over.

These are a record number of discoveries made in just one month, from where 50.1 mmcfd gas and 2,359 barrels oil per day was being produced.

Shahid said out of the six new finds, two were made by the Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDCL) and MOL Pakistan each, and one by Petroleum Exploration (pvt) Limited (PEL) and United Energy Pakistan (UEP) each.

“Four discoveries have been made in different parts of Sindh and two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.

The minister said PEL hit gas condensate discovery in Badin-IV South Block at Ayesha North-I Well in Sindh province, where the company dug 2,820 meters deep, conducted a successful DST (drill stem test) and found flow at the rate of 8.1 mmcfd of gas and 49 barrels per day oil.

UEP made a gas discovery in Bukhari Lease at Limu East-I Well in Sindh province and assessed 2.0 mmcfd of gas flow.

While, MOL Pakistan made two discoveries in Tal Block at Makori Deep-I Well and Tal Block Tolang West-I Well in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and found 18.5 mmcfd gas and 2,020 barrels per day oil flow during the drills.

OGDCL, the minister said, made two discoveries in Bitrism Block at Bitrism West-IA Well and in Thal block at Thal West-I Well in Sindh provinces with 215 mmcfd gas and 290 barrels per day oil.

Following the 83 oil and gas discoveries in last three years, around 631 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas and 27,359 barrels per day Crude Oil production has been added to the system. APP