Thursday, April 12, 2018

Key gas field for PNG LNG expansion gets huge resource upgrade | April 12, 2018

Papua New Guinea's PNG LNG has had a huge increase in upstream gas resources, which will support the plan to almost double the facility's export capacity, project participant Oil Search said Thursday.

The gas resources increase is in the P'nyang field in PRL 3, where Oil Search has 38.51% stake, resulting in 1C gross contingent gas resources more than tripling to 3.51 Tcf, and certified 2C contingent gas resources rising to 4.36 Tcf, Oil Search said.

"Combined with gas resources in the Elk-Antelope fields in PRL 15, Oil Search believes there is now approximately 11 Tcf of certified gross undeveloped 2C gas resource available to support the proposed development of 8 [million mt/year] of additional, globally competitive LNG capacity at the existing PNG LNG plant site," Oil Search managing-director Peter Botten said.

"Importantly, there is in excess of 8 Tcf of 1C resource, which will greatly assist marketing activities within each venture."

Oil Search holds a 29 per cent interest in PNG LNG, along with operator ExxonMobil (33.2 per cent), Santos (13.5 per cent), Kumul Petroleum Holdings (16.8 per cent), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Company (4.7 per cent) and Mineral Resources Development  Company (2.8 per cent).

PNG LNG currently has a nameplate capacity of 6.9 million mt/year but consistently operates above it. In December, it averaged 8.6 million mt/year and is expected to be able to maintain rates above 8.5 million mt/year when operational.


PNG LNG was forced to close on February 26 due to a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the PNG Highlands.

An ExxonMobil spokeswoman said Thursday that the projection gave on March 5 that it would take approximately eight weeks to complete repairs and restore production remains on track. Roughly eight weeks from March 5 will take the restart to the end of April or start of May. It may take some time to ramp back up to full production rates.

Oil Search said Thursday that ongoing discussions are taking place between the joint venture partners as well as the PNG government on the preferred development concept for LNG expansion, which proposes one new train underpinned by gas from P'nyang and the PNG LNG project fields, and two trains dedicated to Papua LNG, supplied with gas from the Elk-Antelope fields.

"The joint ventures are targeting entry into front end engineering and design on this expansion in the second half of 2018," Botten said.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Ben Wilson said the question for the JV parties and what will likely ultimately determine the value of the additional resource will be the timing when the additional gas from P'nyang gets developed.

"P'nyang is currently the furthest gas from Hides along the Hides to P'nyang trend and would require longer pipelines and more capex to be developed," he said.

The JV parties will likely be looking to develop gas in an order that is closer and hence cheaper to Hides, he said.

"There is still a chance that gas from Muruk will usurp P'nyang in the order of development with further drilling at Muruk-2 later this year that should firm up that resource size following initial booking of gas this year (pre-drill expectations were in range of 1-2 Tcf) with that trend estimated to hold up to 10 Tcf of unrisked gas," he said.

He noted that Oil Search recently outlined that it was re-examining plans to accelerate gas from existing PNG LNG fields that would be used to front load the PNG LNG expansion train.

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