Murphy, PTTEP farm in to Block AC/P36 off Australia

Murphy Oil Corp. and Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production PCL (PTTEP) together acquired a 60% stake in Block AC/P36 off northwestern Australia.

By an OGJ correspondent
BANGKOK, Dec. 7 -- Murphy Oil Corp. and Thailand's PTT Exploration & Production PCL (PTTEP) together acquired a 60% stake in Block AC/P36 off northwestern Australia.

The farmin reduced the ownership of the 4,000 sq km tract in the Browse basin held by privately-owned Australian concern, Finder Exploration Pty., to 40%.

Under the partnership accord, Murphy Oil, through its local subsidiary Murphy Australia Oil Pty. Ltd., become operator with 40% share in the acreage.

The Thai majority-state-owned firm, which received an offer to acquire the AC/P36 interest from Murphy Oil, holds 20% through subsidiary PTTEP Australia Offshore Pty. Ltd.

It is the first venture into Australia for both Murphy Oil and PTTEP.

The consortium plans to drill an exploration well by the end of 2008 or the first quarter of 2009, according to PTTEP president Maroot Mrigadat.

Chitrapongse Kwangsukstith, senior executive vice-president of the parent firm PTT, said PTTEP's initial capital expenditure in the Aussie block would be about $60 million.

Both will provide capital for advance exploration to prove gas reserves in the permit, which lies in water 1,200-1,600 ft deep, according to PTTEP executives.

Murphy Oil president Claiborne Deming described the Browse basin as "a significant hydrocarbon province with remaining large field potential."


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