One of the world’s most closely watched exploration wells has come up dry. In a major setback for Pakistan’s oil ambitions, the much-awaited Kekra-01 well in the Arabian Sea turned out to be a duster.
“The dry well comes as a major blow not only for the country, but also for the companies involved. The drilling campaign initially had a budget of between $75 million and $80 million, which later grew to approximately $100 million due to technical complications,” says Palzor Shenga, Senior Analyst at Rystad Energy, after official sources confirmed the drilling results over the weekend.
Italian major Eni, as operartor, together with US supermajor ExxonMobil and local players PPL and OGDCL as partners, drilled the Kekra-1 prospect, which Rystad Energy earlier this year ranked as one of the most promising high-impact wells of 2019 (link).
Pakistan had high hopes for this ultra-deepwater well, which had a pre-drill resource estimate of around 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Prime Minister Imran Khan had on multiple occasions fanned the hopes of Pakistan becoming energy self-sufficient if it managed to hit an “oil and gas jackpot” in the Arabian Sea.
“It seems unlikely at this stage that there will be another attempt at offshore exploration in Pakistan, despite the fact that the country’s ultra-deepwater zone is competitively priced,” Shenga remarked. "Most international companies have already fled the cash-strapped country, which is plagued by Islamist militant violence. The disappointing result of this well can be expected to have a negative impact on future offshore licensing rounds in Pakistan.”
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