POSCO International will start exploration offshore Peninsular Malaysia after winning the rights to the 4,738 sq km shallow-water Block PM524 as the South Korean company seeks to expand its footprint outside of Myanmar in the Southeast Asia region.
POSCO International said it will operate the block off the east coast of Malaysia in waters 50-80 metres deep with an 80% stake. Petronas Carigali will hold the remaining 20% share.
POSCO will also get the rights to the Laba and Laba Barat fields, which are adjacent to Block PM524.
Any future discovery during the four-year exploration term could be tied back to the nearby Tanga Barat Cluster, operated by Petronas Carigali, said POSCO.
The Tangga Barat Cluster consists of four dry gas fields in the Malay Basin, 140 kilometres off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, and 180 kilometres from Kerteh. The fields were initially discovered by ExxonMobil in the early-80s to mid-90s but were deemed uneconomic due to their high carbon dioxide (CO2) content. The fields were relinquished in 2001, with operatorship reverting to Petronas Carigali, which has since started production from the cluster.
In July, POSCO International announced an agreement with Indonesia’s Pertamina Hulu Energi to jointly study potential oil and gas exploration opportunities covering an area of 11,515 sq kms offshore Indonesia.
POSCO International’s upstream exploration and production business is largely focused on Myanmar in the Southeast Asia region. But the company is seeking to expand its footprint in the natural gas business in other strategic markets in Southeast Asia and Australia.