Australia’s BHP Petroleum has signed an exploration agreement with the Petroleum & Natural Resources Ministry. The agreement is for two areas in the Risaldar block in central Pakistan. BHP now holds a 95 per cent interest in Risaldar-A, while the state’s Government Holdings retains a 5 per cent stake. BHP will operate the block. The Australian company has also taken a 47.5 per cent stake in Risaldar B. The state-owned Oil & Gas Development Corporation holds 47.5 per cent and Government Holdings the remaining 5 per cent.

The company says it will run seismic investigations in the new block this year. BHP also holds the West Phulji, Dadu and Nawabshah blocks in the south of the country. The company plans to drill a well in Dadu this year.