ExxonMobil close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s

Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan’s caretaker Minister for Maritime Affairs and Foreign Affairs, speaking at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. (AN photo)
Updated 05 August 2018

ExxonMobil close to hitting huge oil reserves in Pakistan, bigger than Kuwait’s

  • The US energy giant has drilled up to 5,000 meters near the Pakistan-Iran border, says Pakistan foreign minister
  • If the oil deposits are discovered as expected, Pakistan will be among the top 10 oil-producing countries, ahead of Kuwait in sixth position

KARACHI: The US energy giant ExxonMobil is close to hitting huge oil reserves near the Pakistan-Iran border, which could be even bigger than the Kuwaiti reserves, says Abdullah Hussain Haroon, Pakistan’s caretaker minister for maritime affairs and foreign affairs.

ExxonMobil, the American multinational oil and gas company, has so far drilled up to 5,000 meters close to the Iranian border and is optimistic about the oil discovery, Haroon told business leaders at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI).
If the oil deposits are discovered as expected, Pakistan will be among top the 10 oil-producing countries ahead of Kuwait in sixth position.
Kuwait’s oil reserves make up 8.4 percent of the oil reserves in the world. Kuwait claims to hold about 101.50 billion barrels, including half of five billion barrels in the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone which Kuwait shares with Saudi Arabia.
According to current estimates, 81.89 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves are located in OPEC member countries, with the bulk of OPEC oil reserves in the Middle East, amounting to 65.36 percent of the OPEC total, latest OPEC data shows.
Pakistan’s foreign minister also said that his government has already taken an undertaking from ExxonMobil to set up a generation complex worth $10 billion.
“They are also putting up an LNG berth at Port Qasim, the second seaport in Karachi. They have already paid for the drilling rights in Pakistan,” Haroon added.
He said: “Pakistan is providing a level playing field to foreign investors and they are interested in coming to Pakistan. What we need to do is to meet their standards and attract them to make investment.”
In May 2018, the ExxonMobil had acquired 25 percent stakes in offshore drilling in Pakistan. The agreement was signed at Prime Minister’s Secretariat among ExxonMobil, Government Holdings Private Limited, PPL, Eni and the Oil and Gas Development Corporation.
The agreement has reduced the drilling share of other partner exploration companies to 25 percent each.
Haroon said that Pakistan is being dragged into the US-China trade war but “the country is maintaining its impartiality.”
“When we sought a much-needed external loan from China, which they initially had refused, the US expressed its annoyance,” Haroon added.
Pakistan currently meets only 15 percent of its domestic petroleum needs with crude oil production of around 22 million tons; the other 85 percent is met through imports. The country facing huge current account deficit of up to $18 billion is spending a substantial amount of foreign exchange reserves on import of oil. The import bill of Pakistan rose by to $12.928 billion in the July-May 2017-18 period of the last fiscal year.
Pakistan’s foreign minister also talked about the current water crisis and its impact on Indo-Pak relations. “India is acting to control water flows which would endanger Pakistan’s food security and they would ruin our crops,” he said.
Haroon called for the integration of Karachi Port and Port Qasim so that they could supplement each other in the larger interest of the country.
He underlined the need for a new area for a fish harbor as the existing one has many issues and there is shortage of land. He regretted that the harbor is not well kept and hoped that the European Union will give subsidy for a new one.
Ghazanfar Bilour, president of the FPCCI, said that Pakistan trade was facing global competition both in terms of marketing products and trade diplomacy as the agreement signed by Pakistan to expand exports was not providing potential benefits. “We need strong advocacy to achieve market access for Pakistani products in other leading markets, and correction in the existing bilateral trade agreements,” he noted.
Tariq Haleem, vice president of the FPCCI, called for bringing down the cost of doing business and improving efficiency at all Pakistan ports.
“At Karachi Port, about 27 million tons (import and export) of dry and liquid cargo is handled per annum. But, in actual fact, these volumes were not satisfactory, the reason being the extreme shortage of space at the Karachi port,” he said.


Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

Updated 13 October 2019

Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

  • EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down hopes Sunday of a breakthrough in his last-ditch bid to strike an amicable divorce deal with the European Union.
Negotiators went behind closed doors for intensive talks in Brussels after Johnson outlined a new set of proposals to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Thursday.
They have very little time left to succeed.
EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline just two weeks away.
The 27 would ideally like to have a full proposal to vote on by then.
But the sides are trying to achieve in a few days what they had failed to in the more than three years since Britons first voted to leave the European Union after nearly 50 years.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called the weekend negotiations “constructive” enough to keep going for another day.
“A lot of work remains to be done,” Barnier stressed in a statement to EU ambassadors.
“Discussions at technical level will continue (Monday).”
Downing Street said Johnson also told his cabinet to brace for a cliff-hanger finish.
He reiterated “that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on October 31,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Johnson rose to power in July on a promise not to extend Brexit for a third time this year — even for a few weeks.
Breaking that pledge could come back to haunt him in an early general election that most predict for the coming months.
Johnson is under parliamentary orders to seek a extension until January 31 of next year if no deal emerges by Saturday.
He has promised to both follow the law and get Britain out by October 31 — a contradiction that might end up being settled in court.
Outgoing EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker said British politics were getting more difficult to decipher than the riddle of an “Egyptian sphinx.”
“If the British ask for more time, which they probably will not, it would in my view be a historical nonsense to refuse them,” Juncker told Austria’s Kurier newspaper.
Ireland’s Varadkar hinted on Thursday that he could support the talks running on up to the October 31 deadline if a deal seemed within reach.
The few details that have leaked out suggest a compromise around the contentious Irish border issue Britain’s Northern Ireland partially aligned with EU customs rules.
Whether such a fudge suits both Brussels and the more ardent Brexit backers in parliament who must still approve a deal should become clearer by the end of the week.
Britain will only avoid a chaotic breakup with its closest trading partners if the agreement is also passed by the UK parliament — something it has failed to do three times.
Johnson heads a minority government and must rely on the full backing of not only his own fractured Conservatives but also Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP’s parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds warned Johnson that “Northern Ireland must remain entirely in the customs union of the United Kingdom” and not the EU.
“And Boris Johnson knows it very well,” Dodds told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
The comments do not necessarily rule out DUP support.
UK media are presenting Johnson’s mooted compromise as a “double customs” plan that could be interpreted to mean that Northern Ireland is leaving EU rules.
Yet details are still under discussion and the prime minister’s allies are urging lawmakers to give the British leader a chance.
Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled Sunday that he would wait for the outcome of the EU summit before trying to force an early election.
But he added that there was “a strong possibility” that those polls would come before the Christmas break.