ISLAMABAD  -   After arrival of drilling ship at offshore Indus G-Block called Kekra-I (an ultra deep well), the Exxon Mobil and ENI are poised to initiate exploration activities during the next week to assess gas potential there.

“The drill ship has arrived and will start its work on January 7 or 8,” official sources told APP on Thursday.

The Exxon Mobil, a US-based and one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has re-entered Pakistan’s market along with joint venture partner ENI for the exploration, believing that the country had gas reserves for 50 years.

Supply vessels, carrying exploration equipment for ‘Mother of All Rigs,’ had started arriving and docking 230 km off the Karachi coast from December last.

Meanwhile, the government has exempted additional customs duty on import of offshore drilling equipment to encourage Exploration and Production (E&P) companies to tap unexplored hydrocarbon reserves in the country.

“In future, there will be clearance of vessels, drill ships and helicopters without any levy, duty or charges whatsoever including customs duty,” according to a press release issued by Petroleum and Natural Resources Division the other day.

This dispensation is extended to all companies and joint venture partners who are party to any Production Sharing Agreement with the government for offshore petroleum exploration and production activities, it added.