KARACHI: Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), a frontline Exploration and Production (E&P) company for seven decades, has played a key role in providing energy for the country with a current contribution of more than 20 percent to national gas supplies.
“The company’s over a 100-year rich history is linked with its predecessor and major stakeholder, Burmah Oil Company, a British company, once based in the United Kingdom founded back in the 19th century. PPL, now a public sector company since 1997, has a multinational legacy and DNA, governed under the Companies Act, 2017,” says Moin Raza Khan, MD & CEO, PPL.
The discovery at Sui in 1952 was a landmark for both the company and country, being the largest gas field with more than 12 trillion cubic feet of reserves. This discovery was made in the heart of the country in Balochistan yet in close proximity to Sindh and Punjab and became the hub for natural gas distribution system in Pakistan with original infrastructure emanating from it. At one point, Sui was the only producing field and at its peak produced around 1 Bcf per day of high-quality gas. Subsequently, gas was supplied to Karachi in 1955 followed by Rawalpindi and the rest of the country.
Following the Sui discovery, impetus was provided to industry for exploration activities in south region, as earlier only Potwar region in north was the focus of E&P activities.
PPL made a string of significant discoveries after Sui at Zin, Uch, Khairpur and also in currently operated assets at Kandhkot and Mazarani in 1959 followed by an oil and gas discovery at Adhi in 1978, which are still producing through dedicated facilities. PPL also confirmed the presence of gas in Qadirpur structure, a 6 trillion cubic feet field, through its well Kandhkot-9 in early 1986.
Later the government engaged International Finance Corporation and a Gas Price Agreement came into effect for installation of a compressor plant at Sui along with development wells at Sui, Kandhkot and Adhi. In 1997, BOC disinvested from the E&P sector worldwide and sold its equity in PPL to the Government of Pakistan.
It was only in 2009, when PPL’s momentum for recent successful endeavours commenced by a team led by Khan, then General Manager Exploration, when PPL increased its portfolio by acquiring 14 blocks and another 11 in the 2013-bidding round, adding around 48,000 sq. km acreage.
“PPL has drilled 63 exploratory wells since 2012, resulting in 22 discoveries in operated areas with a success ratio of 35 percent adding about 2.764 Tcf gas and 127 Mbbls oil in place,” says Khan. Among these, 11 discoveries were made in Gambat South Block acquired in 2009 which currently produces over 100 Bcf gas, 1100 bbl oil and 15 M tonnes LPG per day through three producing fields.
“As the known corridors have already been discovered in Pakistan and are matured, it has become vital to explore frontier regions as well as expensive off-shore for growth. However, the liquidity crunch due to circular debt is a real challenge facing the industry and particularly, PPL,” highlights Khan.
PPL boasts highly qualified, motivated and committed staff who remained determined during the current COVID-19 pandemic for the company to achieve a milestone with nearly zero decline in its production to provide much-needed energy supplies for the nation.
“The current PPL management is committed to fully embracing a multinational style of working. The positive response by company staff during COVID-19 pandemic is a testament that the company is stepping-up to the path of growth,” says Khan.