PROMISING appraisal works from the Antelope 5 well have helped to underpin the Elk-Antelope project as a multi-train LNG project, project partner InterOil has said in its first quarter profit announcement.

InterOil chief executive Michael Hession said Antelope 5 had a 680 metre gross gas column and appeared to have better reservoir quality than initially thought.

“Drilling results from Antelope 5 identify this well as having the best reservoir thickness, quality and fracture density of all wells drilled on the Elk-Antelope field,” he said.

“Evaluation of seismic and new high-definition gravity data indicates that the field could extend further west than originally model led.”

“This data, combined with the top reservoir being higher than expected, suggests potential for significant upside.”

Initial results from the neighbouring Antelope 4 well had also indicated a high quality reservoir with a gross gas column of at least 300 metres, before the well was suspended due to mechanical problems about 150 metres above the field gas-water contact.

InterOil said the PRL 15 joint venture, led by French major Total, would proceed to drill Antelope 6 in a bid to provide enhanced structural control and further define the extent and quality of the reservoir.

The joint venture was now evaluating data from the well before deciding on what the next step would be, though a preferred development concept is still expected to be announced by the middle of this year.

Total became operator of the Elk-Antelope joint venture following arbitration with project partner Oil Search, which had argued it ought to have pre-emptive rights over Total’s farm-in to the project, which occurred when InterOil transferred a 40.1 per cent stake to Total in 2014.

Total retains its stake in the project, with InterOil holding 36.5%, Oil earch 22.8% and minor partners the remaining 0.6%.