TotalEnergies’ (LON:TTE) is planning to explore a large undrilled shallow-water gas prospect in the Cape Vogel basin offshore Papua New Guinea (PNG) after signing a technical cooperation agreement with Australia’s Lakes Blue Energy.
The French company, which is developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project in PNG using the Elk-Antelope gas fields as feedstock, signed an exploration deal covering Block PPL 560, that holds the multi-trillion cubic feet Buna gas prospect.
TotalEnergies will fully fund a staged exploration campaign in return for an option to acquire a 75% participating interest in the licence, said Lakes Blue Energy in a statement.
The Australian-listed company will be carried for the exploration costs including up to US$30 million for the first well drilled, if TotalEnergies opts to enter into the permit and proceeds to the drilling stage.
Under the technical cooperation agreement, Lakes Blue Energy will immediately collect and provide to TotalEnergies, outcrop rock and fluid samples from the Cape Ward Hunt and Cape Vogel Peninsula areas. The French company will also carry out at its cost a Phase A technical work programme involving comprehensive geological and geophysical studies.
TotalEnergies, which is building the Papua LNG project in PNG, has the option to undertake at its cost a Phase B work programme involving seismic acquisition to delineate the Buna prospect in preparation for drilling.
“Signing of the agreement with TotalEnergies underlines the significance of the Buna gas prospect. The transaction provides the opportunity for the company to be fully carried for a 25% interest in a major new petroleum frontier,” said Blue Lakes Energy.
PPL 560 covers the Cape Vogel Basin, in shallow water offshore to the north of PNG. There are several large prospects within the basin, with the present focus being on the Buna prospect, which is estimated to hold in excess of 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, added Blue Lakes Energy.