Pakistan's PPL to Start Drilling Offshore Well

BRUSSELS, Feb 17, 2005 (ODJ Select via COMTEX) -- (Dow Jones)

Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL.KA), the country's second largest oil exploration company, plans to start drilling its first offshore well Friday.

The company said in a statement Thursday planned drilling will be carried out 58 kilometers southwest of Pasni in southwestern Balochistan province.

"The Ensco 95 jackup is on location and the drilling operations are expected to commence from Feb. 18," the company said, adding to support drilling operations all arrangements have been finalized including mobilization of supply boats, helicopter and support services that have been mobilized from the Gulf.

The company said it will be the first local firm to venture into offshore exploration.

"PPL's Pasni X-2 well will be the 14th offshore exploratory well drilled in the Pakistani waters."

PPL, which operates the country's biggest Sui natural-gas field, contributes 25.3% of Pakistan's total natural-gas production, with total reserves of oil and gas equivalent to 725 million barrels of oil.

Recently the company said it plans to drill 35 exploration and appraisal oil wells in the next five years and is seeking a joint venture to foray into international exploration.

Currently, the company is exploring for oil and gas in 14 blocks, eight of which are PPL operated and the remaining six are joint ventures.

(C) Copyright 2005 Odj