Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Working in a partnership with Australian and Japanese partners, Exxon Mobil said new hydrocarbons were found while drilling in gas-rich Papua New Guinea.
A regional affiliate of Exxon is working in a partnership with Oil Search and JX Nippon at the P'nyang South asset. Oil Search started drilling in the petroleum license in October and Exxon said it could finally declare a discovery of hydrocarbons that extends the boundaries of an existing field.
Exxon already works with the government of Papua New Guinea on plans to develop the gas discovered in the P'nyang field, situated in the country's Western Province. The new discovery adds to the potential for natural gas and liquefied natural gas.
"We are currently evaluating the well results and together with our co-venture partners will assess the P'nyang field resource potential and development pathway," Liam Mallon, president of Exxon Mobil Development Co., said in a statement. "We will work with the government of Papua New Guinea as we undertake this work."
Discussions with the government are ongoing on the potential to develop a 50 megawatt gas-fired power plant on a site near one of Exxon's LNG plants in the country.
A liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, led by Exxon, marked a milestone with its 100th delivery three years ago. More than 7 million tons of LNG has been shipped from the facility since it opened.
Papua New Guinea is positioned well to take advantage of the growing energy demands from economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Many of the island nations in the region lack adequate domestic reserves, so the super-cooled LNG, which has more options for delivery than piped gas, fills in the gap.
"We are continuing with our active onshore and offshore exploration program in an effort to provide additional resources to expand existing and planned development projects," Mallon added.
Construction at the LNG facility in Papua New Guinea began in 2010. The facility is expected to produce more than 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over its 30-year lifespan.