Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands

Exploration boost for InterOil

INTEROIL Corporation’s exploration program received an added boost with the granting of three new prospecting licences by the National Government.

The new petroleum prospecting licences 236, 237 and 238 supercede previous prospecting licences (PPL) 210, 220 and 230. Company general manager (exploration and production) Andy Carroll said the award for these licences and the drilling program provided the foundation for a revitalised oil industry in Papua New Guinea and InterOil would now look at accelerating and expanding the drilling program to deliver first oil to the refinery before the end of this year. He said InterOil applied for the new licences to obtain the benefit of the newly established 30 per cent tax rate in Papua New Guinea. The revised tax rate applied to new licences and compared favourably to the previous tax rate of up to 65 per cent.

The area covered by the three licences was increased by 38 per cent to more than eight million acres to ensure all prospects identified in InterOil’s previous exploration studies are clearly within the company’s licence. The new licences would give an active exploration drilling program commitment that would be met by InterOil’s eight-well drilling program, located within the boundaries of the new licence PPL 238.

“The Government of Papua New Guinea has delivered tax reform and we are pleased to be able to respond immediately by starting the eight-well drilling program,” Mr Carroll said. “We are drilling ahead at Moose-1 and will have results by the end of this month.” The three licences are located on the Government of Papua New Guinea’s proposed energy infrastructure corridor. PPL 236 is located adjacent to Port Moresby and a small discovery would be commercially developed with good access to the infrastructure at the Napa Napa refinery while PPL 237 includes the Bwata gas field and the Puri-1 discovery well located southeast of the Gobe oil fields. “PPL 237 would be a strategic licence to provide an early liquids feedstock platform to the refinery this year,” Mr Carroll said. “PPL 238 is located between PPL 236 and PPL 237 and covers the prospective Late Cretaceous “Pale” and “Subu” sandstones, first penetrated by the Subu-1 and Subu-2 wells drilled by InterOil.”

Source: Post-Courier Online, 8 April 2003

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