Premier Oil to drill for gas in Pakistan's Kirthar Park
UK's Premier Oil has decided to go ahead with its drilling program for two exploratory wells in Pakistan's Kirthar
Park in Sindh province, despite strong opposition from environmental groups, an official at the Ministry of Petroleum
and Natural Resources said. Premier will spud its first well in July, with the second one following shortly after, he
The company was given final approval from the ministry to drill for gas in the country's largest wildlife sanctuary and home to numerous threatened species in July 2001. But Premier has since been mired in a legal wrangle, fighting a lawsuit filed by local environmental groups in the Sindh High Court. Environmental groups had hoped the court would revoke Premier's exploration license but the court came down in favour of Premier.
Meanwhile, environmentalists are now considering launching an appeal but no firm decision has been made. Premier had
earlier teamed up with Shell in a joint venture to explore for gas in the Park, but Shell pulled out when the
project's controversial impact took its toll.
However, the British exploration firm soon found Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Co, which was willing to replace Shell in the $ 200 mm joint venture. The joint venture is the only operation seeking to exploit the Park's hydrocarbon resources. The 3,000-sq km Kirthar Park, northeast of Karachi, is estimated to hold at least 6 tcf of gas.