Oil Search to farm-in to PNG exploration project

Sydney-based Oil Search has bought a 30 per cent stake in five licences in the emerging Eastern Foldbelt region of the onshore Papuan Gulf Basin.

The company has made an agreement with US oil giant, ExxonMobil, to undertake a seismic acquisition programme into early 2018, which will include exploration and drilling

“Prior to our proposed bid for InterOil in 2016, Oil Search identified the onshore Papuan Gulf Basin as an area with not only discovered gas resources, but also significant further gas potential,” said Oil Search’s managing director, Peter Botten.

“The proposed farm-in to these licences materially enhances Oil Search’s exploration portfolio in this highly prospective area. Combined with our existing acreage position, Oil Search has a world class exploration portfolio in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with multiple high potential play types close to infrastructure.”

The onshore Gulf licences are in close proximity to the Elk-Antelope fields, which are expected to underpin the Papua LNG development and provide a potential route for future commercialisation.

“In addition to the existing gas discoveries, we have identified a number of additional leads and prospects on the acreage,” Botten said.

“We are delighted to be partnering with ExxonMobil in this exciting play fairway, building on our existing relationship within the PNG LNG and Papua LNG projects, and look forward to commencing an active exploration programme.”

Oil Search’s acquisition of the licence interests is subject to due diligence, execution of binding agreements, conditions precedent and regulatory approvals.