Pakistan's ministry of petroleum says authorities are ending offshore drilling off the Karachi coast in the Arabian Sea after no reservoirs of oil or gas were found.

The news was a setback for Pakistan, which had placed high hopes in the project discovering enough oil for its needs.

The ministry said in Sunday's statement that the drilling, which began in January, was a joint venture of Exxon Mobil, ENI and two Pakistani companies. It said the oil exploration well will be plugged and abandoned.

Energy-starved Pakistan has large reservoirs of natural gas. But large oil fields are yet to be found in Pakistan, which has made several unsuccessful attempts to find oil in the Arabian sea. The country imports most of its oil from the Mideast, including Saudi Arabia.