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Development of gas producing fields in Pakistan.

In 1947, Pakistan's industrial base was almost non-existent and the country was extremely deficient in energy resources. A small production of coat and crude oil was the only form of the energy available to the country and the search for oil and gas began anew.

In 1952 Sui gas field was discovered by Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL). This discovery not led to immediate intensification of the petroleum exploration activity in the country, but also provided the basic ingredient in the formation of an industrial base for the country.

However, by the early 1980s, the requirement for natural gas increased to the point where production was barely able to meet the growing demand. Hence early development of the known reserves and exploration for additional reserves gained immense importance in the late 1980s. As a result, there have been some significant discoveries during the 1990s.

Over the entire energy history of the country, natural gas has contributed significantly towards meeting the country's energy requirements. The contribution of natural gas towards the total energy supply has been more than one-third (35-40 per cent) through all these years. Out of this, over 85 per cent contribution is from natural gas fields, whereas the rest is from oil fields producing associated natural gas.

Natural Gas Fields

So far some 35 natural gas fields have been discovered. The corresponding reserves estimate is over 31 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) out of which about 7 Tcf gas has been consumed.

The current production averages around 1,500 million cubic feet per day (MMcfd) with winter peaks at 1,700 MMcfd. Some major natural gas fields contributing to this production are as follows.

Sui Gas Field

The largest gas field (recoverable reserves: 8.624 (Tcf) of the country was discovered at Sui by PPL in 1952. The pioneering efforts made by PPL in developing this field inspired local as well as international oil companies to step up their exploration activities in Pakistan.

During its first year of production in 1955 the gas sales from Sui were only 10 MMcfd as most of the industries were using fuel oil. Thereafter, the demand for Sui gas increased rapidly and its production now stands around 800 MMcfd in the 1990s.

To keep up with the growing demand a total of 86 wells were drilled by the middle of 1991. PPL also installed wellhead gas compression facilities, with total installed ISO Horsepower of 90,000 by end of 1986, for maintaining contractual delivery pressures and volumes against declining reservoir pressure. With the existing development, the field is projected to produce at the current rates till turn of the century.

Mari Gas Field

The second biggest discovery of a gas reservoir in Pakistan was made in 1957 at Mari. It is now operated by Mari Gas Company. At present, gas supply form the field is 290 MMcfd from 48 wells. A major portion of its production is supplied to fertilizer plants, viz., Engro Chemicals, Pak Saudi and Fauji. The remaining gas is delivered to Water and Power Development Authority's (WAPDA) power generation plant at Guddu.

Kandhkot Gas Field

PPL's continued exploration activities after the discovery of Sui gas field resulted in discovering a number of gas fields. These include Zin, Uch, Khairpur, Mazarani and Kandhkot. Out of these, Kandhkot gas field, located 34 km south of Sui field, is currently on production.

The development of Kandhkot field was undertaken to supply up to 30 MMcfd of gas to WAPDA for its thermal power generation station at Guddu, 56 km northeast of Kandhkot field. Further development of the field was undertaken in 1986 and the field is now supplying 100 MMcfd gas to WAPDA. Estimated recoverable reserves from Kandhkot gas field are 0.796 trillion cubic feet.

Pirkoh Gas Field

Pirkoh gas field was discovered by OGDC in 1977 with an estimated initial recoverable reserves of 1.35 trillion cubic feet. The field was put on production in March 1984. As more wells were drilled and put on production daily production gradually increased to about 200 MMcfd by end 1992.

Loti Gas Field

Loti gas field was also discovered by OGDC in 1985 with initial recoverable reserves estimated at 2.02 trillion cubic feet. Development of the field is underway and by mid 1991 a total or 46 wells had been drilled, producing over 40 MMcfd.

Adhi Gas-Condensate Field

Adhi gas-condensate field was discovered in the Potwar region by PPL and AMOCO with PPL as the Olperator in 1978. Subsequently AMOCO transferred their 50 per cent share to Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC). Recovering LPG from gas and supplying of residual gas to the northern transmission system is underway since end 1990. At present 18 MMcfd of gas and 62 tpd of LPG is supplied by the field in addition to about 3,000 bpd of Natural Gas Liquids (NGL).

Other Fields

Some of the significant discoveries during the past years are those of Qadirpur (OGDC/PPL/PEPL/BURMAH, 1990) and Kandanwari (Lasmo 1989). Qadirpur is expected to produce over 300 MMcfd, whereas estimated production from Kandanwari is over 100 MMcfd. Development of these fields is reportedly in progress.

Associate Gas Fields

Associated gas from over 25 oil and condensate fields has a reserve estimate of over 2 Tcf out of which about 1 Tcf gas has been consumed. These fields are concentrated in Potwar region in the northern and in Badin block in the southern part of the country.

Production-wise, associated gas fields have over 15 per cent share in the total gas supply of the country. The first such contribution came from Dhulian oil field in the late 1950s and continued through 1983. Since then, due to field depletion there is no associated gas sale from the field.

Other oil fields producing associated gas from the Potwar region are Meyal (POL: 1986: 18 MMCfd), Dhurnal (OXY: 1984: 20 MMcfd and 88 tpd LPG), and Dakhni (OGDC: 1983). From the Badin block, operated by UTP, some major contributing fields are Turk (51 MMCfd), Bukhari (50), Matli (34), Golarchi (26) and Nari (13).

Gas Transmission and Distribution Network

The infrastructure for supply of natural gas in Pakistan was developed soon after the discovery of Sui gas field in 1952. Sui Gas Transmission Company (SGTC) was formed in 1953 for transmission of gas to southern Pakistan, whereas transmission to northern Pakistan was initiated by Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd. (SNGPL). Subsequently, SGTC merged with Southern Gas Company (SGC) to form Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL). The present network, which covers over 16,000 km. is centered at Sui and is spread over the entire country from one extreme to the other. The corresponding transmission capacity of the network is around 850 MMcfd shared almost equally by SSGCL and SNGPL.

Consumption and Demand

Initially, in the 1955, demand for natural gas in the country was nominal as most of the industries were on fuel oil. However, by the 1970s rapid increase in the demand for natural gas was observed. Power stations and cement factories were being setup all over the country. In addition, a number of fertilizer factories came up utilizing natural gas as feed stock as well as fuel. From 111,514 MMcf in 1971-72 the total consumption was doubled to 227,981 MMcf by 1979-80.

During the early 1980s significant change was made in natural gas consumption pattern. Cement industry which was the major consumer (over 15 per cent of the total gas consumption in the initial years of the gas industry, accounted for only 3 per cent in the 1980s. However, consumption share of fertilizer industry and domestic sector continued to increase during this time. From 285,524 MMcf in 1981-82 the total consumption increased by over 50 per cent to 443,322 MMcf in 1989-90. The above much desired changes were due to deliberate and well planned policy of the Government that set new priorities of gas use in the country due to limited natural gas availability. During the current decade demand for supply of gas is steadily increasing. So far over 25 per cent increase in the demand has been recorded since 1990.

Future Prospects

Studies on the future prospects indicated possible reserves estimate of 140-200 Tcf. By discovering over 33 Tcf gas to date, over 80 per cent of the country's natural gas potential is still untapped. A major reason for this is low drilling density except in the vicinity of the proven fields. On the average, the drilling density is one third of a well per one thousand square kilometer of sedimentary area. This is quite low compared to 6 wells in India, 10 wells in OPEC countries and 300 wells in the USA. To reduce this gap, recently extensive efforts have been made by the Government to lease out almost the entire potential land for exploration. Licences have been granted and exploration efforts are underway. In the next few year new discoveries will be seen on he map of the country. The possibility of finding hydrocarbon was also explored in the offshore Indus basin area. A number of structures had been delineated, however accumulations in commercial quantity are yet to be discovered as exploratory wells drilled to date have been unsuccessful.


Pakistan, an energy deficient developing country, needs to develop its own resources of energy. Natural gas reserves in significant quantities (33 trillion cubic feet) have been discovered in Pakistan of which about 8.0 trillion cubic feet) have been discovered in Pakistan of which about 8.0 trillion cubic feet have already been produced. Development of several new gas discoveries during recent years is expected to contribute significantly to the future energy supply in the country. The gas transmission network has expanded extensively and natural gas is now available for use in over 100 cities and towns of the country with over 1.7 million consumers. Further expansion to fulfil future field development needs has been planned. Moreover, early development of known reserves and exploration for additional reserves has gained immense importance. The Government has presented a new petroleum policy encouraging exploration and field development by private sector. The new measures taken by the Government will soon bear fruit in form of more gas field discoveries and development in the country.
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Title Annotation:Special Section: Energy
Author:Kureishy, H.M.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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