Pakistan’s hopes to discover large oil and gas resources off its Karachi coast were dashed after the latest offshore drilling campaign failed to find any hydrocarbon reserves.

The drilling of the Kekra-1 well was terminated after the targeted carbonated reservoir at the site was found to contain only water. The well, spud in January 2019, is situated at Indus G-Block around 280km from Karachi coast.

Making the announcement, Pakistan’s state-owned Oil and Gas Development (OGDC) spokesperson Ahmed Lak told Reuters : “The oil exploration well will be plugged and abandoned.”

OGDC was a partner in the exploration well led by a group which also comprises Eni , Exxon Mobile and Pakistan Petroleum . Eni is the operator of Kekra-1, under an agreement signed in 2012.

However, the spokesperson added the data procured from the drilling as well as other seismic studies will help in future exploration projects. Overall, the project involved an investment of around $100m.

The failure is regarded as a significant blow to the Pakistani government, which hoped to address its growing energy requirements through new offshore oil and gas discoveries. The South Asian nation is estimated to host rich mineral resources with conventional gas reserves of up to 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf).

Several attempts to discover oil and gas resources were made in the past, however, all of them remained unsuccessful. In 2005, Dutch company Shell carried out the last offshore activity in Pakistan but it also failed to find any hydrocarbon reserves, reported PTI.