The First Commercial Exploration success in Pakistan came with the drilling of Khaur-1 by Attock Oil Company in 1915, on a surface anti-cline in the Potwar Basin. Oil was discovered in sands in the lower part of the Miocene formation and a total of 396 shallow wells were drilled in the field from 1915 to 1954. Steady exploration drilling continued in the Potwar Basin and led to the discovery of three oil fields.
Archeology records that stone implements were attached to wood or bone handles with the help of sticky bitumen (a tarry substance) at least 36,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians coated mummies with pitch. About 600 B.C. Bitumen bound the walls of both Jericho and Babylon; it was also used as a sealant in the construction of brick baths as early as 3000 B.C. Also as Hydrocarbon seepage were found all over the world so the Ancient people might have been used them as energy source.
Ancient Peoples used crude oil for fuel, as a sealant, as body paint, and for medicinal purposes hundreds of years before the first white settlers arrived. A major breakthrough in the use of petroleum occurred in the 1840's, when a Canadian geologist named Abraham Gesner discovered kerosene. This fuel could be distilled from coal or oil. Kerosene became widely used for lighting lamps, and oil quickly rose in value.
Petroleum is a naturally occurring liquid found in rock formations. It consists of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights, plus other organic compounds. It is generally accepted that oil is formed mostly from the carbon rich remains of ancient plankton after exposure to heat and pressure in the Earth's crust over hundreds of millions of years. Over time, the decayed residue was covered by layers of mud and silt, sinking further down into the Earth’s crust and preserved there between hot and pressured layers, gradually transforming into oil reservoirs.
Petroleum in an unrefined state has been utilized by humans for over 5000 years. Oil in general has been used since early human history to keep fires ablaze, and also for warfare.
Its importance in the world economy evolved slowly, with whale oil used for lighting into the 19th century, and wood and coal used for heating and cooking well into the 20th Century. A petroleum industry emerged in North America in Canada and the United States. The Industrial Revolution generated an increasing need for energy which was fueled mainly by coal, with other sources including whale oil. However, it was discovered that kerosene could be extracted from crude oil and used as a light and heating fuel. Petroleum was in great demand, and by the twentieth century had become the most valuable commodity traded on the world market.
Imperial Russia produced 3,500 tons of oil in 1825 and doubled its output by mid-century. After oil drilling began in what is now Azerbaijan in 1848, two large pipelines were built in the Russian Empire: the 833 km long pipeline to transport oil from the Caspian to the Black Sea port of Batumi (Baku-Batumi pipeline), completed in 1906, and the 162 km long pipeline to carry oil from Chechnya to the Caspian.
The first modern oil refineries were built by Ignacy Lukasiewicz near Jaslo (then in the dependent Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria in Central European Galicia), Poland from 1854–56. These were initially small as demand for refined fuel was limited. The refined products were used in artificial asphalt, machine oil and lubricants, in addition to Łukasiewicz's kerosene lamp. As kerosene lamps gained popularity, the refining industry grew in the area.
The first oil drilling in the United States began in 1859, when oil was successfully drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the United States overtook Russia as the world's largest oil producer.
By the 1920s, oil fields had been established in many countries including Canada, Poland, Sweden, the Ukraine, the United States, Peru and Venezuela.
In 1937 Pure Oil Company (now part of Chevron Corporation) and its partner Superior Oil Company (now part of ExxonMobil Corporation) used a fixed platform to develop a field in 14 feet of water, one mile offshore of Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
In early 1947 Superior Oil erected a drilling/production oil platform in 20 ft of water some 18 miles[vague] off Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. But it was Kerr-McGee Oil Industries (now Anadarko Petroleum Corporation), as operator for partners Phillips Petroleum (ConocoPhillips) and Stanolind Oil & Gas (BP), that completed its historic Ship Shoal Block 32 well in October 1947, months before Superior actually drilled a discovery from their Vermilion platform farther offshore. In any case, that made Kerr-McGee's well the first oil discovery drilled out of sight of land.
After World War II ended, the countries of the Middle East took the lead in oil production from the United States.
Petroleum Exploration in Pakistan began more than a century ago. The first well was drilled in 1866 at oil seepage Kundal in the Mianwali District of Punjab Province. Right after seven year of World's 1st well.
Activities continued during the last quarter of the 19th century with sporadic attempts to drill shallow boreholes, as in rest of the world, the earlier exploration focused on seep-ages. Mainly in the Sulaiman Fold Belt. Discovery of oil at Khattan in Balochistan was the main success where thirteen shallow wells produced 25,000 barrels of oil between 1885 and 1892. The Government of Indio-Pak controlled the drilling activities during this early phase.
Up to 1883, a number of shallow wells were drilled by the Government agencies, all near seepages. However, due to rapid decline in production the Government agencies subsequent lost their interest in oil exploration. The problems with drilling in areas of oil seepage were the low rate of oil production and short life. With the advancement of knowledge about origin, migration and occurrence of petroleum, and development of drilling technology, the exploration was extended to other sedimentary regions.
The first commercial success came with the drilling of Khaur-1 by Attock Oil Company in 1915, on a surface anti-cline in the Potwar Basin. Oil was discovered in sands in the lower part of the Miocene formation and a total of 396 shallow wells were drilled in the field from 1915 to 1954. Steady exploration drilling continued in the Potwar Basin and led to the discovery of three oil fields.
Pakistan's first oil field was in the late 1952 in Baluchistan near a giant Sui gas field. The Toot oil field was not discovered in the early 1960s in the Punjab. It covers 122.67 square kilometres (47.36 sq mi). Pakistan Petroleum and Pakistan Oilfields explored and began drilling these field with Soviet help in 1961 and activity began in Toot during 1964.
The Toot area is one of the oldest oil producing regions in Pakistan with the first oilwell was drilled in 1964 when President Ayub Khan encouraged a mineral development policy. It is located in the Potwar region, Punjab Province, which It is located approximately 135 km southwest of the capital city of Islamabad. In 1964 the first well was drilled. The commercial production started in 1967. There are about 60 million barrels of oil in place with 12%-15% of which is recoverable. At its peak during 1986, the field was producing approximately 2,400 barrel of oil per day. It has grown steadily since then, producing both oil and, to a lesser degree, natural gas. Oil production was entirely confined to the Potwar Plateau till 1981, when Union Texas Pakistan discovered its first oil-field in Lower Sindh. By 1998-1999, the Lower Sindh gas-fields were producing more oil then the Potwar Plateau. Since then, new deposits have also been found here.
In 1968 after OGDC discovered Tut Oilfield (1967) and POL discovered oil at Meyal (1968) several foreign companies began to show interest in Pakistan. As a result the Government of Pakistan signed agreements with American Oil Company (AMOCO) and Wintershall in 1969, the former for onshore and later for offshore Indus Basin. Marathon Oil Company of USA was also granted huge Concession in 1973 along the Makran Coast, half onshore and half offshore. Wintershall withdraw after drilling three dry offshore wells and Marathon closed its operations after drilling one onshore and one offshore wells. Amoco continued its drilling programme but without success in Middle Indus Basin. In 1976 OGDC announced the discovery of condensate gas field at Dhodak and discovered gas at Pirkoh in (1977).
During Mid Nineties to the end of the century companies like Lasmo (Now Eni), Premier, Shell alongwith new comers like Tullow Oil of Ireland and BHP of Australia became active and as a result gas was discovered at Sara, Suri, Chachar, Zamzma, Bhit and at Zarghun, all in the Middle Indus Basin and Kirthar province except Zarghun which is located in Bolan Concession in Baluchistan
An Hungarian oil company, MOL, Polish Oil & Gas Company of Poland and Malysia’s Petronas were also grained Concessions. Polish Oil and Gas drilled a dry hole in Sabzal Concession, N.E. of Mari but Petronas made a gas discovery in their Mehar Block. MOL is currently drilling an exploratory well in Tal Concession in Bannu district. Recently OGDCL made a break through when oil was discovered for the first time in Kohat region at Chanda (former Shakardara Structure) from the Datta Formation of Jurassic. OGDC also made two oil discoveries in their Sinjhoro Block in Sanghar district.
The Exploration in offshore regions which had started in 1961 remained limited to the drilling of only eleven exploratory wells of which nine were located in the Indus offshore and two off the Makran Coast. OGDC’s Pak Can-1 drilled during 1985-86 was the first one to establish the presence of hydrocarbons (gas) on the continental shelf but in sub-commercial quantities. The last well drilled in Indus Offshore region was Sadaf-1 by Occidental. This well was also a commercial failure. Most recently UMC (later Ocean) drilled a well near Pasni in offshore Makran. The well apparently did not reach the objective Punjgur sandstone.
At present four blocks in the Indus Offshore region are held under licence two by Total, one by Shell and the fourth one by British Gas. Ocean Oil has two Offshore / Onshore adjacent blocks along the Makran Coast. The lack of success and high cost of exploration has mainly caused the slow pace of exploration in offshore areas although the prospects of locating upstands like the giant Bombay High of India cannot be ruled out.