Oil, gas exploration companies pledge $5 billion investment

Pakistan is expected to get an investment of $5 billion over the next three years from local and international firms for the exploration and development of petroleum and gas reserves that will save the cash-strapped country’s valuable foreign exchange and provide relief to the common man bearing the brunt of high fuel prices.

A delegation of petroleum and gas exploration and production companies during a meeting with the prime minister stated that an investment of $5 billion in three years and 240 places will be excavated to search for petroleum and gas in Pakistan.

Facing a severe balance of payments crisis, record inflation, and sharp currency devaluation, Pakistan lacks sufficient resources to operate its oil and gas plants, leading to the import of most of its energy needs.

Consequently, planned power cuts, known as loadshedding, occur every summer due to fuel shortages and high demand. The duration of these power cuts varies across different areas of the country, which has a population of 241 million.

The meeting was informed that currently, Pakistan’s domestic production stood at 70,998 barrels of oil and 3,131 MMSCFD of gas per day, which needs to be drastically increased to achieve as much self-sufficiency as possible.

The main imported products are motor spirit (MS), high-speed diesel (HSD), and crude oil. Compared to the same period last fiscal year (2022-23), the import bill for MS dropped from $3.704 billion to $3.156 billion, for HSD from $1.646 billion to $1.050 billion, and for crude oil from $4.287 billion to $4.051 billion.

State Bank of Pakistan (SB) Governor Jamil Ahmed told the meeting that, on the prime minister’s special instructions, all the remittances (profit of the business) had been sent to the respective countries of the oil and gas production companies.