CAUTION Bay, near Port Moresby, has been selected as the site for a proposed liquefied natural gas plant that would develop gas from the Total-operated Elk-Antelope operations in the Gulf Province.

Other participants in the PRL 15 joint venture, Oil Search and InterOil, have voted in favour of Total’s proposals for Elk-Antelope as part of the broader Papua LNG project.

Total plans to build a central processing facility (CPF) west of the Herd base in PRL15, close to the Purari River.

The CPF would be connected to the proposed plant via 340 kilometres of pipelines – 75 kilometres onshore and 265 kilometres offshore – the routes for which have been determined.

Located about 20 kilometres north-west of Port Moresby and adjacent to the PNG LNG Project site, the plant is expected to have a similar sized footprint to the neighbouring ExxonMobil-operated facility.

Geotechnical data will be acquired over the next few months to further define site locations, Oil Search said, while discussions with government continue.

Selection of the final development concept, including the sizing and capacity of the facilities, is expected to take place early in 2016, once appraisal of the Elk-Antelope field has been completed and the resource size has been quantified.

This development concept will then provide the basis for moving into Front End Engineering and Design.

InterOil chief executive Michael Hession said the joint venture would enter its basis of design phase after selecting the project sites, which he said were the best locations for the facilities.

“The central processing facility in the Gulf Province will be near the gas field with river access,” he said.

“The LNG facility near Port Moresby has potential for synergies with existing infrastructure and sufficient land for significant LNG train expansion.”

Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said the selection of site locations for the infrastructure followed an exhaustive evaluation process of a range of options over the last 12 months.

“These decisions will enable the joint venture to commence early engagement with key stakeholders, including state, provincial and local governments as well as local communities,” he said.

Dr Botten said appraisal of the Antelope field would continue in parallel, with the results of the recent initial testing of the Antelope 5 well consistent with a substantial resource base with good productivity in the carbonate reservoir.

“Drilling of the Antelope 4 sidetrack, which will enable additional testing of the reservoir to take place, will be followed by the Antelope 6 appraisal well later in 2015,” he said.