PNG’s Gulf Province Poised To Be Next LNG Site

PNG’s Gulf Province Poised To Be Next LNG Site

Gulf Province could become PNG’s premier natural gas province; InterOil’s recently appointed senior vice president of Exploration, Laurie Brown, said at the recent 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference in Sydney.

In a newsletter released yesterday by the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum by executive director Greg Anderson; Ms Brown was quoted saying,”the Eastern Papuan Basin is one of the most exciting emerging provinces I’ve seen in over 30 years.”

Currently, InterOil’s Elk-Antelope gas fields in Petroleum Retention Licence (PRL) 15 have a gas resource of at least 7-9 trillion cubic feet (tcf), making it the subject of PNG’s 2nd proposed LNG venture with partners Total Gas SA of France and Oil Search Limited.

InterOil, which is now cashed up after the sale of its Napa Napa refinery and a farm-out deal with Total, the company has been conducting one of the most intensive exploration programs ever in PNG in Gulf Province, its main focus area.

Ms Brown, who has managed onshore, offshore, deepwater projects and new ventures across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Australia, including a stint in PNG in 1989, says that new seismic reprocessing techniques, first used in the past year, has given InterOil the ability to target “sweet spots” that potentially can increase resource estimates at previous discoveries and provide improved drilling targets in the future.

“We have currently identified about 40 potential targets in our prospect inventory,” stated Ms Brown, adding that successful results in the year ahead from appraisal at Triceratops, Bobcat, Raptor and Antelope Deep are significant to InterOil’s LNG project.

The potential for InterOil’s gas discoveries in Gulf Province to host at least two LNG trains has been significantly firmed up with an announcement that its Raptor-1 wildcat has flowed gas and condensate.

In March this year, the Department of Petroleum and Energy awarded InterOil several exploration licenses around the Elk-Antelope discoveries covering some 16,000 sq km of exploration acreage. Included in this area are 40 potential leads.

The company has selected three sites in Gulf and one near Port Moresby as potential locations for an LNG facility and will undertake additional detailed studies on the most appropriate location, including environmental studies.

The arbitration case will commence in London involving Oil Search and InterOil. Oil Search is disputing the right of InterOil to sell off a 40% stake in PRL 15 to Total. A decision is expected early next year.

Meanwhile, InterOil yesterday announced that is has started drilling the Antelope-5 appraisal well in PRL 15. Antelope-5 is about 1.8 kilometers from Antelope-3 and will appraise the western extent of the Elk- Antelope field.

Mr Anderson also highlighted that oil exploration scene in PNG remains fairly healthy because of ongoing programs in Gulf Province by InterOil, which recently was drilling three wells simultaneously. Two of them have been declared gas-condensate discoveries and the third, which had been abandoned prematurely due to technical issues, will be re-entered in the New Year. InterOil is busy building up its gas inventory to determine the potential size of its proposed LNG project, which will be the second such project in PNG. PNG Today/Post Courier

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