Austrian oil and gas company OMV has strengthened its exploration and production portfolio with the acquisition of a 30% interest in the Kalat license and a 15% interest in the Barkhan license, both situated in the province of Baluchistan in southwest Pakistan.

OMV has stated that these areas are underexplored but are considered as highly prospective drilling areas. The company will participate in joint ventures with Pakistan Petroleum, the operator. Extensive 2D seismic as well as geophysical surveys are planned to investigate potential drilling targets.

Helmut Langanger, OMV executive board member responsible for exploration and production, said: These new exploration licenses acquire acreage with highly attractive exploration potential. It enables us to proceed with our plans for further growth in Pakistan, where OMV is currently the biggest international gas producer.

Both blocks comprise several structural leads and multiple target reservoirs. The joint venture will start with 2D seismic operations in the Barkhan license at the beginning of August 2008. Detailed geophysical surveys are planned as a first step for the Kalat block after the completion of the seismic in Barkhan.