Pakistan Awards Exploration License for Baluchistan Province

Pakistan has awarded an exploration license to Mari Gas Company for a 943 square mile block in the province of Baluchistan, according to official news agency APP. The company will invest $3.65 million in exploration in the block which is located about 31 miles east of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province.

Mari Gas holds the license for a period of three years and must drill at least one exploratory well during that period.

The company owns Pakistan's second-largest natural gas reserves, Mari Field, in the southern province of Sindh. The field has more than five trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. APP said Mari Gas supplies an average of 450 million cubic feet of gas per day to three fertilizer plants and a thermal plant of the state-owned Water and Power Development Authority.

The company is currently evaluating prospects for acquisitions and plans to invest about $70 million in the next five years on exploration.

Mari Gas is 40 percent owned by Fauji Foundation, a business concern of retired army personnel, and 20 percent each by the state-run Oil and Gas Development Co, the Pakistani government and the public through its Karachi Stock Exchange listing.