Mari Petroleum Announces a Major Gas Discovery in Balochistan

In a significant development for Pakistan’s energy sector, Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL) announced a major gas discovery in Balochistan, at the Maiwand X-1 ST-1 well in Block 28 of the Kohlu District in Balochistan. The exploration well was initiated on June 12, 2023, and reached a final depth of 2,516 meters by November 12, 2023.

Flow Rates

The testing of the well has yielded promising results, with gas flow rates from various formations. The Dughan & RaniKot formation, after completion, exhibited a gas flow of 4.14 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) at a wellhead flowing pressure (WHFP) of 186 psi using a 64/64″ choke size.

Other formations, including Pab & Mughal Kot and Mughal Kot Sst and Lst, showed gas flows of 0.79 MMSCFD, 1.11 MMSCFD, and 0.38 MMSCFD, respectively, after undergoing acid wash and acid stimulation processes.

Moreover, MPCL operates Block 28 with a 95% working interest, with the Oil & Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) holding the remaining 5% interest. MPCL has been leading exploration activities in the region.

Gas Reserves in Balochistan

Balochistan boasts the country’s vast gas reserves, with an estimated 19 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) out of Pakistan’s total proven 25.1 Tcf located there.

Oil and gas exploration in Balochistan extends beyond the Marri-Bugti tribal area. It also includes areas like Sunny Shoran, Kharan, Zarghoon, Chaghi, Lasbela, Bolan, Makran, and the coastal regions. Geological reports confirm substantial petroleum and gas reservoirs in the Kalat, Kharan, Kohlu, and Lasbela districts. The government should develop a proactive exploration policy for resource-rich Balochistan.

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) is the leading exploration and production company with a long history of operations in Balochistan. PPL also operates the Sui gas field in the Bugti tribal area, Pakistan’s oldest.

Currently, 23% of Pakistan’s natural gas output is extracted from Balochistan. This also included 18% from the Sui gas field in the Bugti tribal area. Sui remains the largest gas field in Pakistan. Discovered by PPL in 1952, it has been a significant contributor to Pakistan’s energy needs since then.

The Sui gas field is crucial for the country’s economy, being the primary energy source for industries, power generation, agriculture, commerce, and households nationwide. Additionally, gas from Sui is utilized in the production of fertilizers and other chemicals.

Gas Use: World and Pakistan

Gas ranks as the third-largest energy source consumed globally. Pakistan accounts for less than 1 percent of global gas consumption. The country fulfills its energy requirements through a combination of imported and indigenous resources, with a ratio of 44:56.

Natural gas and imported LNG collectively contribute over 40 percent to Pakistan’s current energy mix. This also includes their utilization in electricity generation. Over recent years, Pakistan has experienced a significant surge in gas demand. Nonetheless, gas exploration and production have seen a decline. Weaknesses in the operational and regulatory framework for LNG result in nationwide shortages and escalated supply expenses.