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FEASIBILITY STUDY OF SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT IN PAKISTAN

Introduction:
Natural gas has a major share in the energy mix of Pakistan. With the increase in human
development and increasing population, the demand for the natural gas in our country is
experiencing an increasing trend. The ever-widening gap between energy demand and supply and
the natural decline in the conventional natural gas fields can be solved by moving into the
unconventional resources which are enormous deposits and an excellent potential.
Current gas production of Pakistan is around 4 Bcfd and imports of LNG are around 1.2 Bcfd and
the energy shortfall is around 2-4 Bcfd. Conventional proved gas reserves are 542.5 billion cubic
meters (19.15 TCF) which according to current production of 4 bcfd will last for only 13 years.
(Source: www.indexmundi.com) To counter this problem Pakistan has been gifted huge resources
of shale gas. According to EIA estimates, Pakistan’s total Risked Gas in Place is 586 TCF, while
Technically Producible Reserves are 105 TCF. However, very less efforts to develop these
resources have been made to produce from these technically and economically challenging
potential resources.

Current State of the Art:


Pakistan's shale oil and gas resources are mostly located in the lower Indus basin region,
predominantly in Ranikot and Sembar, mainly in upper Sindh and lower Punjab while a sizeable
reserve is also found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Prospective basins are Southern Indus Basin and
Central Indus Basin along with the important
Baluchistan basin and Northern Indus Basin region, predominantly in Ranikot and Sembar, mainly
in upper Sindh and lower Punjab while a sizeable reserve is also found in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Unfortunately, there is no guideline for shale gas development in the country as no Shale gas policy
has been introduced and no incentives

Challenges:
To achieve success in unconventional reservoirs an unconventional thinking and approach is
required. The challenge is to optimize the investments to have increased Estimated Ultimate
Recovery (EUR) by sensitizing well placement, stimulation program, type of well, completion
strategies and the most importantly the economic constraints according to the company’s strategy.
Shale is fragile fine-grained sediment layer with shaly or lamellar bedding composed of clastic
grains with grain size smaller than 0.0625 mm.
Designing and field testing, cost-effective drilling, completion and stimulation procedures that are
suited for the specific type of shale gas resources are essential for the economic success of the
shale gas project. Continuous technology improvement and innovation include the use of state of
the art fracturing technologies such as micro-seismic to improve the well productivity.
Projecting structures of shale gas development that differentiate it from conventional gas
extraction activity involves horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Such an
expertise positively leads to well projects, which are in order of magnitude larger than traditional
gas wells, and facilitate energy development firms to follow projects in locations which factually
weren't commercially practicable; on the other hand, gas exploration, production, and transmission
activities have always impacted proximate communities

 Reliable and timely Estimation of Original Gas in Place (OGIP) and Estimated Ultimate
Recovery (EUR) with the uncertainty present in reservoir characterization.
 Implementing the different development strategies that will accelerate and increase the
ultimate field productivity rate.
 The above two challenges must be in accordance with the economic model that maximizes
the NPV and IRR targets of a company.

Motivation and Need:


Shale Gas exploitation is no longer an uneconomic venture with availability of improved
technology as the demand and preference for this clean form of hydrocarbon have made Shale
Gas, an energy in demand. The reserve accretion, production & development of shale gas from
one basin to another around the world are rapidly increasing, with Pakistan on fast track at this
road.
Following are the factors that have made shale gas production economically viable:
1. The technological breakthroughs in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that have
made shale and other unconventional gas resources commercially viable.
2. Rapid increases in natural gas prices in the last several years because of significant supply
and demand pressures. Higher gas price is the key factor for the continued requirement for
the development of shale gas.
3. Gas shortage has increased the Gas prices in recent times and now projects in Tight and
Shale gas look economically feasible.
Hence, by developing these Indigenous resources, we can counter the energy shortfall being
faced by our country.
OBJECTIVES AND DELIVERABLES:
Shale reservoirs are more complex to be developed as compared to tight gas due to their extremely
low permeability which is in the order of nano-miliidarcy and the presence of large amount of
adsorbed gas which is difficult to quantify. To produce from shale gas resources at economical
rates, horizontal wells are needed to be drilled with multi stage fracturing plan. Currently the cost
of horizontal well with multi stage fracturing is high which makes most of the shale gas/tight gas
resources uneconomical. So, number of wells and their locations should be optimized and as well
as the hydraulic fracturing job to make shale plays viable to exploit which will help to meet
country’s future demand of gas.
Strategy:
This project will include strategies required to develop a shale gas reservoir. The strategies can be
implemented using reservoir modeling software like Eclipse. Various sensitivities of different
strategies will be implemented followed by economic consideration of each case and hence the
best possible scenario will be selected in terms of the profitability to the company. The various
variables during the sensitivities will be the number of wells to be drilled, well locations, spacing
between the wells, well timings, plateau rate, etc.

The above stated objectives would be achieved by using recent improved techniques of decline
curves and simulation models using ECLIPSE simulator to predict performance of the field. A
probabilistic approach will be implemented in defining reserves by applying applying different
statistical models.
For best field development strategy selection an optimum well placement and recovery per well is
to be sensitized keeping in mind the best economics and the NPV of the field. Excel sheets would
be employed for the economic analysis.

Expected Results:
Throughout the project, it will be focused on how to have positive NPVs for shale gas projects
without much increment in the gas prices. A successful project will possibly lead to orient
company’s focus towards exploitation of shale reservoirs. The results will be highly influencing
if working is done based on the data of actual field. A detailed comparative analysis with the US
shale plays with the shale plays in Pakistan will provide a direction for future shale projects in the
country.
The results are expected to give a comparative analysis of the reserves estimation techniques
suitable for the field in Pakistan and point out which is the most realistic technique available. The
simulation results will aid in deciding optimum well spacing and type of wells, horizontal section
length and well stimulation program. The economic model will be the major controlling tool for
the development decisions.