Oil and Gas in PNG

The PNG oil and gas fields are held within fold belts, it is the abundance of structures in the fold belts which is the major difference to other petroleum provinces. More importantly the petroleum system(s) which feed these structures is world class.

The Papuan Mesozoic geology is part of the Tethyan petroleum system which has strong sedimentary (source, seal and reservoir rocks) similarities to the NW Shelf of Australia. Each region has significant oil and gas reserves and importantly each region holds individual fields which are very large in size. In the Papuan Basin there is the; Kutubu and Gobe oil fields and the Hides gas fields. In the younger Cenozoic East Papuan Basin there is the Elk/Antelope gas field.

The Papuan Basin has proven plays in the Jurassic-Cretaceous folded clastic reservoirs, and drape and fault block plays in the less folded foreland. The East Papuan Basin proven plays are the folded Miocene carbonates, either reefal or deep water.  The fold belts generally are extremely rugged and for a long time the oil and gas in the highlands was stranded. In 1986 the Kutubu oil discoveries were made, between 1991 and 1992 the 265 km pipeline was built and production commenced June 1992. Oil production at Kutubu peaked at 130,000 bopd. The Hides gas field was discovered in 1987 and small scale gas production as feed stock for electricity generation commenced in 1991. The PNG-LNG 700 km pipe line began in 2010 and production commenced in April 2014, reported to be 100 million cubic feet a day from a proven reserve base of 7.1 Trillion cubic feet.  The East Papuan Basin saw success with the drilling of the Antelope gas field in 2007. Reserves are in the order of 6.5 Trillion cubic feet with deliverability as high as 705 million cubic feet from Antelope 2 reefal carbonate reservoir. There is currently a feasibility study on how to commercialize this with an LNG export facility.

The same types of folded anticlinal traps exist with PPL579, but without the remoteness or the rough topography of the highlands. The current foreland setting has the traps buried and below sea level and the PPL is only 150 km from Port Moresby. Most of PPL579 is accessible by road or by boat.