Commercialisation of undeveloped gas key for Oil Search

The commercialisation of PNG’s undeveloped resource base at P’nyang and the Elk-Antelope gas field remain Oil Search’s key focus in 2017 and beyond.

During the company’s 2017 Annual General Meeting in Port Moresby, the board highlighted the potential to continue to deliver top quartile returns to shareholders underpinned by the commercialisation of both gas fields.

Chairman, Rick Lee, said with the current global oil and gas prices, it was imperative that cooperation between gas resources developers in PNG deliver on the potential returns.

“We remain strongly of the view that, particularly in todays lower oil and gas price environment, future LNG developments in PNG must be undertaken in a cooperative manner, utilising existing LNG infrastructure as much as possible, to maximize capital efficiency and returns for all stakeholders. We are pleased that our key partners, ExxonMobil and Total, have also indicated they are supportive of this approach,” said Lee.

Both Elk-Antelope and P’nyang gas fields combined make up a total of 10 trillion cubic feet (tcf), which is sufficient for two more LNG trains.

Managing Director, Peter Botten, said that appraisal work on Elk-Antelope has been completed and further drilling is also planned for P’nyang in 2017 leading to 2018 to increase the proven reserve which will underline financing and development of the next phase of PNG.

Meanwhile he added there has been significant review of the remaining exploration potential in PNG.

He said Oil Search has the largest data base in the country which has given them valuable insight into the future of exploration.

“We think we’ve only found 40 per cent of the reserves in PNG and we estimate there’s a further 7 billion barrels of more equivalent yet to be found, with 90 per cent of that to be gas. So we are focusing primarily on gas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oil Search has recorded total production in the first quarter of 2017 was 7.57 million barrels of oil equivalent (mmboe), marginally lower than in the previous quarter.

A strong performance from the PNG LNG Project was partially offset by lower output from the Company’s mature oil fields. Oil Search remains on track to deliver 2017 production within the 28.5 – 30.5 mmboe guidance range.

In 2016, Oil Search celebrated another year of record oil and gas production, with output reaching an all-time high of 30.2 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Since 2013 Oil Search production increased four and a half times which is reflective of the PNG LNG’s impact.

Cedric Patjole