A UK-led consortium is evaluating the results of drillings at two gas wells in the Kirthar block, 200 kilometres north of Karachi. Dismissing speculation in London that a find was about to be announced, a spokesman for the operator, Lasmo, said on 24 March that the results of the company’s studies would not be known for some weeks.

The Kirthar concession is owned by Lasmo Oil Pakistan, a subsidiary of Lasmo, the Anglo/Dutch Royal Dutch/Shell Group, with 47.5 per cent each, and the state-owned Oil & Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) holding the balance. The group will have a 20-year production lease if it makes a commercial discovery.

Drilling work at the first well, Khit-1, was suspended in 1996 because of the monsoon, but the preliminary results were promising enough to drill Khit-2, to a depth of 2,000 metres. The results will take some weeks to evaluate, Lasmo spokesman Roy Beadle says.

Lasmo acquired another concession, Kirthar West, in 1996. In the previous year, the company announced the start of gas production at Kadanwari, 330 kilometres northeast of Karachi. That concession is held with OGDC (50 per cent), and the local Kufpec (Pakistan) and Idemitsu Pakistan Oil Exploration Company, each holding 15.79 per cent (MEED 16:6:96). The same consortium also has an exploration concession in Sibi, Baluchistan.