Mella McEwen | Midland Reporter-Telegram
Permian Basin operators’ success in applying new technology to oil fields that have been producing for over 90 years has drawn global attention.
“The latest and greatest technology, horizontal drilling, new fracturing, is attracting people from all over the world,” said Midlander S. Javaid Anwar, president and CEO of Midland Energy Inc. and Petroplex Energy Inc.
Among those drawn to the Permian Basin is Jalil Abbas Jilani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, who made a brief trip to Midland Wednesday.
“Pakistan has huge oil and gas reserves and we’re looking at this area for investors interested in joint ventures,” explained the ambassador, speaking by phone as he headed to the airport to fly to Houston. He was accompanied by Afzaal Mahmood, general consul for Pakistan stationed in Houston.
Jilani said he was impressed “by the things happening in Midland” and that he was warmly received at the luncheon attended by local oil men, including Don Evans as well as Midland Mayor Jerry Morales and Jose Cuevas, owner of JumBurrito. He said he hopes local businesses will consider participating in what he described as significant opportunities in Pakistan.
It’s estimated Pakistan holds total conventional and unconventional reserves of about 160 trillion cubic feet equivalent.
Anwar, a native of Pakistan, explained that the ambassador was making an “exculpatory” visit to Midland to gauge interest in helping Pakistan develop its unconventional hydrocarbons.
“They have an acute shortage of natural gas. They used to have conventional gas reserves, but with population growth and economic expansion,” they’re experiencing a shortfall, Anwar said.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration cited a Pakistani government report that the country had a natural gas shortfall of 912 billion cubic feet in 2013, though its dry natural gas production has grown by over 80 percent over the last decade to 1,462 Bcf in 2012.
Anwar said a concern to doing business in Pakistan is with the extremists, “which includes some Taliban” as well as the psychological concern Americans and Europeans have over the safety of their personnel.
He said the ambassador suggested sending Pakistanis to the Permian Basin for training in the new technologies like horizontal drilling and slickwater fracturing.
“I said that would take half a decade-plus, especially for geologists and engineers,” Anwar said. “This is a business of hard knocks. You need to get your hands dirty.”
He said the Pakistani government is willing to guarantee natural gas prices of $8 to $9 per Mcf, double current U.S. prices. But, he said, there are details to work out.
“What’s the delivery point? Is it at the wellhead?” he asked. “We don’t know all the details or the economics.”