Oil Search has embarked on the largest drilling programme in its history, according to its quarterly report, The National reports.
The report says a number of appraisal, development and exploration wells will be drilled across its PNG Highlands and Gulf licences over the next 18 months.
Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said this programme was designed to evaluate the gas potential and build a resource base to potentially underwrite further gas development opportunities.
“The first well in this campaign, P’nyang South 1, was drilled on a structure immediately south of the existing P’nyang gas field during the quarter,” he said.
“The well discovered gas, intersecting a 184 metre gas zone over the Toro to the base of the P’nyang sands. A side-track, P’nyang South 1 ST1, was subsequently drilled, with the objective of defining the gas:water contact.
“The well reached target depth shortly after the end of the quarter, successfully intersecting the gas: water contact some 200 metres below the lowest gas in P'nyang South and extending the known gas column to approximately 380 metres.
“Interpretation of seismic and structural data suggests there is additional potential up-dip, indicating the total gas column could be over 650 metres.
“This is an excellent result, materially increasing the total estimated 2C gas resources in the P’nyang field and providing a potential key underpinning volume for LNG expansion.”
Oil Search drilled both wells under contract with the Operator, Esso PNG P’nyang Ltd.
Botten said construction of the well pad for the second well in the programme, Trapia 1, an exploration well on a large structure to the east of the Hides and Angore fields, was completed during the quarter.
“The rig is currently being assembled, with drilling scheduled to commence following the completion of P’nyang South activities,” he said.
“Development and appraisal drilling at the Hides gas field is due to commence mid-year and will continue through 2012 and 2013.
“Further drilling is also planned in the oil fields, to assess the potential upside in both oil and gas resources that can enhance further gas commercialisation.”
Botten said in the Gulf of Papua, following the positive results from the 2011 3D seismic survey, Oil Search had decided to acquire additional 3D seismic data in order to high grade a number of prospects prior to potential drilling.
“A seismic vessel was contracted and acquisition has recently commenced,” he said.
“Shortly after the end of the quarter, the company entered a contract to drill two firm and two optional wells in the Gulf acreage, with drilling targeted to commence in late 2012.”