TOTAL expects to drill a gas appraisal well on PRL 15 – the centre of its proposed Papua LNG project – in September this year after its joint venture partners agreed to the project.

In its May exploration and appraisal drilling update, Oil Search said the Antelope 7 well would be drilled 1.4 kilometres west south west of the Antelope 5 well, aiming to further define the western flank of the field.

Well pad construction is already underway for the well, which Oil Search said would be completed by August.

The company plugged and abandoned its Antelope 6 well, on the same field, in April after first drilling it in December 2015.

Evaluation of data from the well, including drill stem and injectivity testing, is ongoing.

The Antelope 6 well reached a total depth of 2,462 metres, with the well reaching a top reservoir at 2,076 metres.

Total is operator of Papua LNG project and its Elk Antelope gas discoveries with a 40.1 per cent stake, Oil Search currently holds 22.8% and InterOil holds 36.5%.

InterOil said it expected to progress to front end engineering and design work in 2017, with construction expected to start in 2018, creating an estimated 10,000 jobs.

InterOil chief executive Michael Hession said the company and its partners were making significant progress on the fields.

“InterOil is poised to benefit from development of the Papua LNG project and to monetise InterOil’s assets for the benefit of all InterOil shareholders,” he wrote in the company’s first quarter report.

An extended well test of Antelope 5 showed connectivity between that well and Antelope 1, with InterOil saying that no barrier was seen on the flow test, while test results supported previous interpretations of reservoir quality and well deliverability.

Gauges in Antelope 5 and Antelope 1 recorded pressure variations during the Antelope 6 flow test, which indicated strong connectivity between the wells and Antelope 6, 2.5 kilometres away, InterOil said.