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Oil Industry Plans to Invest $5 Billion to Explore Drilling Sites in Pakistan

Oil and gas companies operating in Pakistan plan to invest $5 billion over the next three years to explore drilling sites in the South Asian country, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said this weekend.

Representatives of the firms working in the Pakistani exploration and production (E&P) industry met with government officials and said the companies plan to drill about 240 sites in search of hydrocarbons in the country, which depends on imports to meet most of its energy demand.   

Pakistan set up a committee that will draft proposals for attracting investments in oil and gas exploration after consulting the industry, Pakistani outlet The News reported.

Apart from looking to attract investments in exploration, Pakistan is keen to boost its oil imports from Russia, the Pakistani prime minister said.

Pakistan has held useful discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sharif said.

“Hope he will visit Pakistan soon,” The News quoted the Pakistani prime minister as saying.

“We want to import more oil from Russia,” he added.

Last year, Pakistan started importing Russian crude oil, initially on a government-to-government basis in a trial run of imports with cargoes that arrived in June 2023.

Pakistan has been desperate to import energy at low costs after it was outspent on the market in 2022 when oil and gas prices surged while its foreign exchange reserves dwindled. The country has a currency swap with China, which would make it easier to pay for crude than using the little U.S. dollar reserves it has.

In October, private Pakistani refiner Cnergyico said it had imported the first Russian crude cargo in the private sector in the South Asian country.

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The private refiner, which operates Pakistan’s largest refinery with 156,000 barrels per day (bpd) capacity, has consulted sanctions counsel and carried out due diligence to ensure that the purchase doesn’t breach the sanctions against Russia, a spokesman for Cnergyico told Reuters at the time.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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