24 February 2024
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ISLAMABAD: The Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Monday approved use of old or existing licenses and lease agreements of petroleum exploration and production companies for exploration of new oil and gas reserves, ARY News reported.

The approval was accorded at the 51st meeting of the Council of Common Interests held in Islamabad with Caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Anwaarul Haq Kakar in the chair.

The council approved the amendments proposed by the Petroleum Division in the Petroleum Policy 2012 to encourage exploration of new reserves of oil and gas.

The decision of the council would encourage the companies in exploration of new reservoirs of gas. Under the amendment in the petroleum policy, the gas exploration companies would be allowed to work with their present licences in search of oil and gas reserves.

The meeting was told that 85 percent of the crude oil and 75 percent of the gas used in the country was imported with precious foreign exchange reserves, which was a burden on the national exchequer. The present oil and gas reserves were depleting fast.

The CCI also approved the recommendation of Petroleum Division to give better wellhead price to the oil and gas companies in the 1(F) petroleum zone.

The exploration of oil and gas reserves in the 1(F) zone was a difficult and expensive process due to difficult terrain and lack of facilities in the southern border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The council approved the activation of leases for oil and gas till economic viability of the reservoirs. It also approved the draft of Exploration and Production Policy 2024 of Tight Gas.

The policy contained details regarding prices of tight gas, incentives for promotion of exploration, and regulatory framework for its usage.

Tight gas was a kind of natural gas reservoir that could not be extracted with usual means and the gas wells are drilled with more than usual hydraulic pressure and with expensive equipment and technology.

The meeting was told that according to a conservative estimate, 35 trillion cubic feet of tight gas reserves were available in the country.

As per amendments in the new policy, the CCI approved increase in the rate for the sale of natural gas to the third party on a commercial basis from 10 percent to 35 percent, which would help in reduction of the circular debt.

The caretaker federal ministers for finance, privatization, law and justice, four provincial chief ministers and high-level officials attended the meeting.

Abdul Gh Lone