Only 40% of oil and gas found

Only 40 per cent of PNG’s oil and gas potential has been discovered.

From the discovery, only 15 per cent has been produced while 25 per cent is yet to be commercialized.

PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum President, Gerea Aopi, said according to Oil Search Limited, 60 per cent of PNG’s oil and gas potential is undiscovered.

However, more exploration was needed to discover potential oil and gas reserves and required heavy investment.

“They will never know where to find it unless they are able to acquire the required data: whether it is through field mapping and sampling, gravity, magnetic or seismic data acquisition, or the drilling of stratigraphic or exploration wells.

“All this requires investment. Lot’s of investment. It is all risk capital with no certainty of being acquired in the right place, or of being able to provide the required certainty to support the drilling of a well.

“Without exploration drilling there is one thing for certain - we will not find any new accumulations,” said Aopi in his opening speech.

Aopi said PNG was currently in a very competitive exploration service delivery market where global costs are down, in some cases they are as little as half of what they were before the oil price crash in 2014.

He said it was now time for explorers to get out there and cost effectively acquire data in preparation for testing their concepts through exploration drilling.

“If the explorers can secure the required budget, we as a Nation need an efficient licensing framework within which serious explorers (those with technical and financial capacity) can access their target blocks, deliver their work programmes and can appropriately reassess the underlying prospectivity.

“We also need to facilitate the sharing of exploration risk by streamlining the entry of new participants into licences.

“Ideally, if we can stimulate sufficient activity, we could see multi-operator, cross-licence shared programmes where fixed costs can be fairly spread, giving everyone more "bang for their buck".

“With more risk sharing, more work being done, more wells drilled and new resources proven by the drill bit, the industry will be more able to aggregate projects, cooperatively share infrastructure and can make progress on the near-term discovery and commercialization of PNG's yet-to-be-found hydrocarbon accumulations,” he said.


Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, and PNGCMP Chairman, Gerea Aopi, At the PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference in Sydney. Picture credit: PNGCMP Public Relations

Cedric Patjole