Oil Search farms into former InterOil Papua New Guinea permits
Oil Search Ltd., Sydney and Port Moresby, has bought 30% interest in each of five permits in the Papua New Guinea eastern Foldbelt from ExxonMobil Corp.
ExxonMobil acquired interest in the permits—PPLs 474, 475, 476, 477, and retention lease PRL 39—when it completed its purchase of InterOil Corp. earlier this year.
The permits are nearby the Elk-Antelope fields in PRL 15 in which Oil Search and ExxonMobil are joint venture participants along with operator Total SA. Three of the five permits in the farm-in deal contain recent gas discoveries: Triceratops (PRL 39), Bobcat (PPL 476), and Raptor (PPL 475).
As part of the farm-in, Oil Search will run a seismic program across the five licenses during the remainder of 2017 and into early 2018 on behalf of operator ExxonMobil.
The full terms of the agreement between Oil Search and ExxonMobil, however, have been kept confidential.
Oil Search sees this part of the onshore Papuan basin as significant for further gas potential. The move also materially enhances the company’s exploration portfolio. Apart from the existing discoveries, Oil Search has already identified a number of additional leads and prospects on the acreage and these will be the focus of the coming seismic work.
Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten said the farm-in is consistent with the company’s strategy of focussing on areas that have the potential to support the continued expansion of its LNG portfolio in Papua New Guinea.
As a result of the work involved in the new acquisitions and the additional drilling and testing of the Muruk discovery further west near the Hides operations, Oil Search’s exploration and appraisal budget this year has been revised upward to $270-320 million from $250-300 million.