April 12 (UPI) -- The reserve estimate for natural gas in Papua New Guinea is 84 percent higher than first thought, warranting a significant expansion, Exxon Mobil said.
Exxon said the reserve estimate at its P'nyang field in the country is around 4.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, an 84 percent increase from a 2012 assessment.
"The increase supports a potential significant expansion of operations in the country," a company statement read.
Exxon is already working 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, in liquid form.
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 liquefied natural gas, which has more options for delivery than piped gas, fills in the gap.
Exxon said the revision to its reserve estimate supports an expansion of its existing LNG infrastructure near Port Moresby. Its design concept would add another 8 million tons of LNG capacity per year.
"The increase in the estimated resource size of the P'nyang field helps illustrate the tremendous growth opportunities for our operations in Papua New Guinea," Liam Mallon, president of ExxonMobil Development Co., said in the statement.
An LNG 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.
More than a dozen people were left dead after the island was hit with a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in late February. Exxon was forced to shutter LNG operations as a result and some of its infrastructure was damaged.
The World Food Program estimated more than 270,000 people still need humanitarian assistance.