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Historical Background of exploration in Pakistan

Historical Background of exploration in Pakistan

If we talk about first exploratory well which was drilled in the region of undivided sub-continent (now Pakistan) then facts highlighted that it was drilled in1866 by Punjab Oriental State, right after seven years of World’s 1st well drilled in USA to a depth of 65ft.
With the passage of time, discovery of oil in province of Balochistan was the main success where thirteen shallow wells produced 25,000 barrels of oil between 1885 and 1892. Here one fact should be made clear that during this early phase all the drilling activities were controlled by The Government of Indio-Pak.
Unfortunately, they were unable to find such a reserve which exhibit commercial storage until 1910. Later on Attock Oil Company (AOC) made a first commercial oil discovery (4.31 MMbo) in 1915, in Punjab province. This achievement leads to attract many exploration companies to utilize their investment in region of sub-continent. As consequences three oil fields were established consecutively in 1936, 1944 and 1946 by joint venture of Attock Oil company (AOC) and Burmah Oil Company (BOC).
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the Government of Pakistan issued Regulation of Mines and Oilfields and Mineral Development Act 1948 and classified rules under this Act in 1949. The main objective of this Act was to provide regulatory authority to encourage and accelerate petroleum exploration and production activities in the country.
BOC and AOC transferred its exploration activities to local companies, by establishing Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) respectively.
After establishment of PPL & POL, a well drilled on the Sui structure (located in Balochistan Province), made the inaugural discovery of one of the largest reserves of natural gas and recoverable reserves were estimated to be over 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) which is equivalent to about 1 billion barrels of oil. This discovery was a milestone towards the development & prosperity of petroleum industry in Pakistan which made numerous E&P companies attentive towards this part of globe.
In order to drill more exploratory wells in prospective areas, permits were issued to Standard Vacuum Oil Company (1954), Hunt International Oil Company (1955), Shell Oil Company (1956), Sun Oil Company (1957) and Tidewater (1958) respectively by the Government of Pakistan which led to further discoveries of natural gas reserves.
In spite of new gas discoveries during this time frame, the exploration activities towards the oil discoveries exhibit negative trend.
By keeping this trend in focus Government of Pakistan decided to establish the state oil exploration company and in 1961 a joint stock company under the name of Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) was established which expands moving scheme of prosperous profile with the small gas discovery at Sindh province in 1965, followed by discovery of oil reserve at Potwar region of Punjab in 1968.
Later on gas reserve at Sindh in 1970, Punjab in 1972, then Sindh in 1973 and gas/ condensate at Punjab in 1975 were discovered by the same company.
Meanwhile POL discovered oil at Punjab province in 1968 and American Oil Company (AMOCO) discovered a small gas accumulation at Balochistan province in 1975.
After the modification of petroleum regulations in 1976, British Petroleum a USA Company came to Pakistan and started its activities and has drilled 65 discovery wells in Pakistan.
This opened a new oil province and broke the tradition in the north region. After Sui (Balochistan), the discovery of oil in the Southern Basin was the second milestone in search for hydrocarbons in Pakistan and this area has attained the distinction of contributing 59% of the total oil production of the country.
Following journey of success OGDCL discovered a large gas storage in Eocene Carbonates of Middle Indus Basin in 1989 and fortunately in the same year, Eni made a gas discovery in Sandstone (Cretaceous) in south region lead to discover number of significant gas reserves in 1993 and then in 1998 by OMV of Austria followed by Mari Gas Company Ltd (MGCL) in 1999, in 2002 Petronas of Malaysia provide its services to reveal hydrocarbon bearing zones.
North Frontier Province of Pakistan (NWFP) deviates attention of industrial progress when MOL of Hungry in 2002 and as well as in 2005 made discovery of reserves which has reinforced the belief of many Geologist that this region can host large hydrocarbon reserves and recently nine blocks have been awarded in this province.
Offshore exploration which had started in 1961 remained limited to the drilling of only eleven exploratory wells due to lack of success and high drilling cost.
Current statistics reveals that only four blocks in the offshore region are held under license, two by Total, one by Shell and the fourth one is by British Gas.


Image: Courtesy naturalgasasia.com

One day as an oil rig worker.

One day as an oil rig worker.

There is a growing demand for oil rig workers in offshore oil platforms, as a new work on new reserves is booming. Living away from home for weeks, long shifts, extreme isolation, open ocean, stressful environment make it quite demanding job. However, oil workers tend to get attractive wages and benefits. Every applicant for an oil rig worker wonders how it is like to live in such environment. So what is life on an oil rig really like? What does a day in the life of an oil rig worker entail?

It is important to mention that conditions vary according to different posts. Drilling or construction employees work outdoors while for example geologists do their tasks in offices, inside oil rig platform. This is the reason that it is impossible to generalize what a day on the rig looks, but let’s look at the average working conditions and what life is generally like.

1. Accommodation

Accommodation can vary from one rig to another and from one company to another, but accommodation can be anything from single rooms with suite facilities to a cabin shared by shift workers. Nevertheless, living conditions on oil rigs have improved considerably and  nowadays many offshore installations meet hotel standards. While on board, you can spend your free time in a wide variety of amenities and amusements such as modern satellite TV, updates selection of videos, gym, sauna, video games, connection to Internet. This is not the norm, but many companies offer this kind of activities for oil workers to avoid stress and  ensure the quality of work.

2. Schedule

Schedules and shifts are another important subject. They can vary between companies and  positions. A very common types of schedule consists in 14 days on, followed by 21 days off or working for 1, 2 weeks or even a moth and leaving for the same period. Sometimes, depending of the service, you will have to work until the job is finished. Timetables are between 80-100 hours per week, typically work shifts tend to last 12 hours. They can begin at any time depending on the particular schedule on the rig. This means working for a long shift, followed by 12 hours of rest.

3. Salary

Salaries – like on land – are established depending on position, experience, education. Also, those who arrived for shorter period of time earn less than workers employed on a permanent positions. Of course, the salary is calculated only on working-days. The range of salaries is from 150 euros / day for up to 400 euros / day and more. It should be noted that the higher the risk associated with the job is, the higher the salaries are. Moreover, food and accommodation is fully paid for while you’re working, and any transport to the rig is also arranged.

4. Isolation

Needless to say that work on the rig is not for everyone. The job drives some people crazy, a lot of people have trouble with getting used to open ocean and sometimes claustrophobic conditions. You have to consider that you can’t go anywhere. Space is an issue on an offshore rig, which is basically a camp that is propped up on ramps in the sea, so life on the rig can be quite claustrophobic. Workers compare it to having a second family. The isolation, the intensity of working so many hours straight and the danger breed closeness uncommon in most jobs. There are movie nights and video game tournaments. There’s even a nurse who get their cholesterol and blood pressure tested.

In conclusion, life on an oil rig can get monotonous, but is mitigated by fairly long breaks that allow you to recover, attractive salaries and additional bonuses and benefits.

Sources: drillingrigs.blogspot.com, oilvoice.com, ap.org
Photo from: facebook.com/Offshore-Jobs