CANADA-based Esrey Energy is waiting to hear whether its application for a new six-year exploration licence over Petroleum Prospecting Licence (PPL) 321 will succeed, after surrendering it and two other licences in November 2014.

Esrey allowed PPL 320 and PPL 322 to lapse in November after they expired, but submitted an application to surrender and top-file PPL 321 in August of that year.

In its quarterly statement, Esrey said it had not received a formal response from the Department of Petroleum and Energy by the filing date of 24 February.

“If the Company’s top-file application for PPL 321 is not successful, the acres of land the Company holds for oil and natural gas exploration would decrease by an additional 1.8 million acres (728,434 hectares) to 0.6 million acres (242,811),” the company said.

“The Company has continued to evaluate PPL 321 utilising recently reprocessed seismic data and updated geological models.”

PPL 321 is located in Northern Papua New Guinea and overlies the Sepik basin. Esrey holds an 84.25 per cent operating interest in the licence.

The news also came as Esrey wrote down the value of its exploration and evaluation assets of C$82,741 in Papua New Guinea in its quarterly announcement for the three months to 31 December, 2014.

The news was happier for the two other fields in which Esrey holds stakes, subject to the finalisation of a farm-in agreement with Heritage Oil, acquired by Al-Mirqab Capital last year.

In 2013 Heritage acquired 80% stakes in both PRL 13 and PPL 486, the latter of which was previously known as PPL 319, before it was top-filed in 2014.

The six-year agreement, signed in June 2014, will see at least 50 kilometres of seismic data and the drilling of a well in years one and two of the permit – with one new well to be drilled every following two years.

The deadline for the drilling of the first well on the permit has been extended to 31 December, 2015 after a mutual agreement with all parties.

The farm-in agreement over PRL 13, located in the Papuan basin about 30 kilometres south east of the Gove oil and gas field, requires the acquisition and analysis of at least 10 kilometres of seismic data over the first two years of holding its licence, adding well planning to those responsibilities if an appropriate prospect is found.