ISLAMABAD - Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) have been assigned the task to launch a pilot project to drill Shale gas and oil wells, a senior official in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources said Tuesday.

Following identification of massive resources of the Shale gas and oil in the country, he said, both the companies were making arrangements to launch the project at the earliest. “The pilot project will tap the natural fuel and asses its consequent price,” the official told APP.

A recent study, completed in cooperation with USAID, has confirmed presence of 10,159 trillion cubic feet (TCF) Shale gas and 2,323 billions of stock tank barrels (BSTB) Shale oil in place resources.

He said there was 188 TCF gas and 58 BSTB oil technically recoverable resource while the risked technically recoverable resources stood at 95 TCF gas and 14 BSTB oil as per the study.

He said the study covered lower and middle Indus Basin which geographically spread over Sindh, southern part of Punjab and eastern part of Balochistan. Total area under the study was 271,700 kilomerets, which is 33 percent of total sedimentary area of the country.

Under the programme, he said, a detailed analysis of 124 wells were carried out including laboratory analysis on Shale Cores and Cuttings in the United States. Objectives of the study, the official said, were to validate Shale gas resource, estimate initial findings, assess availability of required technology and infrastructure for Shale gas operations and formulate guidelines for the Shale gas policy.

He said the study had further confirmed that basic technology required for Shale gas exploration i.e. horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, was available in the country and was being used for conventional and tight gas reservoirs. The Shale gas, he said, was a new phenomena worldwide and so far only US Shales had been proved as commercially viable. “Shale Gas Exploration and Production is capital extensive about 10 times higher than conventional oil and gas,” he added.