ISLAMABAD -- It is often noted that the outcome of the war in Afghanistan may well determine who gains access to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. Pakistan, being a gateway to the mineral resource wealth of Central Asia, has been a key participant in the Afghan conflict. But what is generally less well-known is that Pakistan's own oil and gas reserves have also attracted significant attention from large multinational energy corporations.
According to government sources, Pakistan possesses reserves of 27 billion barrels of oil and 280 trillion cubic feet of gas. Yet most of that wealth remains locked away: Only 3.4 percent of oil and 19 percent of gas resources have been tapped thus far.
"[Pakistan has] got significant remaining exploration potential," says geoscientist Jim Harris. But that potential, he explains, is hidden in the complex geology of the Himalayan mountain range.