Total sets eyes on Pacific Rim natural gas

Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:18 AM
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PARIS, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total announced it acquired a stake in offshore Papua New Guinea licenses and production sharing contracts in nearby Indonesia.

Total announced it signed agreements with PNG company Oil Search Ltd. to acquire stakes in offshore and onshore licenses in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Papua.

The French company said the objective of the deal is to explore and appraise five licenses said to contain a high potential for natural gas discoveries.

Papua New Guinea has rich deposits of oil and natural gas, with mineral and oil exports accounting for the bulk of the country's gross domestic product. Papua New Guinea is said to hold as much as 22.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Drilling of exploration wells in the region is expected early next year.

In Indonesia, Total said it signed two production sharing contracts with the government for two exploration blocks near Sumatra. The company explained it would focus on seismic studies of the region during the next three years.

Indonesia is the world's sixth largest exporter of natural gas. The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration estimated gas reserves there at around 100 trillion cubic feet.

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