Oil Search makes new gas discovery

PORT MORESBY – A new gas discovery was made in the country in Papua New Guinea and data assessments are now geared toward commercial developments, a key regional player said.

Oil Search announced last Thursday that it encountered gas in an appraisal well dubbed Kimu 2. The prospect could be linked to other nearby reservoirs.

“Evaluation of the well data acquired has now commenced and will be used to help assess options for the potential commercialisation of the Kimu field,” the company stated.

Oil Search is a partner in a liquefied natural gas facility in Papua New Guinea. The country is positioned well to take advantage of the growing energy demands from economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the island nations in the region lack adequate domestic reserves, so the super-cooled LNG, which has more options for delivery than piped gas, fills in the gap.

Construction at the LNG facility in Papua New Guinea began in 2010. The facility is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over its 30-year lifespan.

Led by ExxonMobil, the facility marked a milestone with its 100th delivery three years ago. More than 7 million tons of LNG has been shipped from the facility since it opened.

Exxon shut down much of its infrastructure and evacuated non-essential personnel from the areas impacted by major and deadly earthquakes that shook Papua New Guinea in February. Oil Search said some of the transit infrastructure, bases and a refinery were damaged, but “the operating facilities generally withstood the earthquake well, with no loss of oil or gas containment identified.”

The company added, however, that while production was disrupted, there was no impact on plans to expand LNG activities. Its insurance loss adjuster outlined an initial estimate for damages to its assets at between US$150 million and US$250 million.

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