PPL acquires technology to fast-track exploration

By Kazim Alam, The Express Tribune

KARACHI: Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) has acquired and started using the Stress Field Detection (SFD) technology in a bid to conduct aerial reconnaissance flights for identifying potential hydrocarbon traps and reservoirs, PPL Chief Executive Officer Asim Murtaza Khan said on Saturday.

Speaking at a press briefing along with Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, Khan said PPL is the first exploration company that is using the SFD technology in Pakistan.

Developed by NXT Energy Solutions, which is a geo-physical service company based in Canada, SFD is a proprietary cutting-edge, eco-friendly airborne reconnaissance method to locate oil and mineral reservoirs in a cost and time-effective manner, especially in unexplored onshore and offshore frontier regions with limited access and infrastructure.

Speaking on the occasion, Hussain said the SFD technology is expected to be useful in fast-tracking the identification of, and production from, relatively deeper, more complex reserves of hydrocarbons to bridge the supply-demand gap in the energy sector.

An aircraft fitted with the SFD technology has already carried out 24 out of 31 planned sorties in PPL’s Kharan block in Balochistan. PPL is running two reconnaissance flights a day, Hussain said, adding one sortie takes up to three hours before the aircraft stops for refuelling.

“What used to take between two and a half years to three years is now done in just one month because of the SFD technology,” Hussain said.

Although the technology was being used in North America for the last two decades, it is the PPP government that facilitated a Pakistani exploration company in acquiring the same, he added.

Hussain said using the SFD technology will cost only $13-15 million to complete reconnaissance that was earlier done at a cost of $100 million. “SFD is a game-changer in the real sense. It’s going to benefit consumers by bringing down the costs,” he added.

Hussain noted that the SFD technology will facilitate exploration in areas, which are hard to reach due to difficult terrain or security issues. He said other exploration companies should also try to acquire the same technology in view of the upcoming bidding of 60 blocks in March.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30, 2012.


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