ASX-listed South Pacific Resources Limited (SPR) has found a partner to help it explore for unconventional oil and gas opportunities in Papua New Guinea.

South Pacific recently announced it had been it awarded reservations over a significant prospective unconventional oil and gas acreage in PNG and has now reported that it has formed a commercial and technical alliance with Malaysian company Tamarind Management Sdn Bhd.

Tamarind is a private oil and gas company based in Kuala Lumpur, with experience in developing assets in PNG.

South Pacific said the alliance will enable it to access a significant management and operating capability to explore the full potential of the PNG acreage as the company moves into the definition and execution of work programmes and the review of appropriate partnership and funding options.

SPR director Domenic Martino said the company had taken up a strong unconventional position in PNG following a number of years of technical assessment and engagement with stakeholders in the PNG oil and gas sector.

“The company was delighted to receive the license reservations announced in July, following the introduction of the new unconventional oil and gas regime in PNG in February 2016, and now are very pleased to announce this strategic alliance with Tamarind, an established oil and gas company, with extensive experience in the country,” Mr Martino said.

“It provides SPR with access to significant human and operational resources to develop its licenses and reservations further, under a model which serves the shareholders of SPB well by tying Tamarind to the company’s success.”

In July 2016, SPR was awarded five highly prospective unconventional oil and gas reservations totalling 75,000 sq. km  in acreage, which includes all of PNG’s current conventional oil and gas production (under separate licences). This followed five years of study and subsequent application for the most prospective shale acreage in the country.

In addition to the recent reservations, SPR operates, and holds a 100% working interest, in five.

Petroleum Prospecting Licenses in PNG (‘PPL’). These cover a total area of 11,972km2 in both onshore and offshore settings. Four of these (PPL 356, 357, 366 and 367) are in the Papuan Basin close to existing oil and gas fields and associated production infrastructure. The fifth (PPL 358) is in the Cape Vogel Basin, a lightly explored offshore frontier basin where natural oil and gas seepages have been reported.

Tamarind’s experience in PNG stems from the very successful entry of Talisman Energy into the Western Province of PNG where Talisman remains one of the largest exploration and development acreage holders in the country. During that time, members of the Tamarind team structured a vast array of transactions to support the PNG growth including corporate acquisitions, farmins, strategic alliances with service providers, partnerships with state agencies, farm-outs to global majors, fit-for-purpose logistics and supply chains, and innovative community and social relations programmes.

Those assets are now held by Repsol following its global acquisition of Talisman.