EXXONMOBIL acquired 63,000 net acres of highly prospective acreage near its existing onshore producing Highlands assets in 2015, the company has announced in its annual report.

The company also acquired more than 60 miles of 2D seismic data over the year to guide future drilling activities, it said.

“Planning is under way to acquire additional 2D seismic data and complete future exploration drilling. These opportunities may enable expansion of PNG LNG,” it said.

The PNG LNG project produced 7.4 million tonnes of LNG in 2015, above its original design specification of 6.9 million tonnes of LNG per year, which ExxonMobil said was a result of a low-cost debottlenecking project and an intense focus on facility reliability.

To date, PNG LNG has produced more than 11.5 million tonnes of LNG and loaded 156 cargoes for delivery to customers in Asia, ExxonMobil said.

Developmental drilling was also completed in the Angore field in 2015, adding two wells and additional resource for the PNG LNG project, the company said.

The company also made progress toward the award of a Petroleum Development License for the P’nyang field, which it said has the potential to provide long-term natural gas reserves to support the PNG LNG project and to supply domestic power generation.

ExxonMobil generated a worldwide profit of US$1.81 billion in the first quarter of 2016, down 63 per cent on the US$4.94 billion it earned in 2015, which the company attributed to lower commodity prices and weaker refining margins.

The company’s non-US upstream earnings were US$756 million, down US$2.2 billion from the prior year, while company-wide gas production was down 9.3% to 10.7 billion cubic feet per day.

The news came after the second custom-built liquefied natural gas carrier for the PNG LNG project was launched in China.Named Kumul, the LNG carrier was built at the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai, China and can carry approximately 172,000 cubic metres of LNG.

The Kumul, and her sister ship the Papua are the largest LNG ships of their size built in China, and will join the Spirit of Hela and Gigira Laitebo in shipping LNG from the PNG LNG project to customers in Asia.

Mitsui O.S.K Lines will operate the vessel, which completed loading ita first LNG cargo at the PNG LNG marine facilities on 1 June – with the 200th LNG cargo loaded onto the Spirit of Hela a few days later.

ExxonMobil PNG managing director Andrew Barry congratulated the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard for its work.

“We are proud of the reputation the PNG LNG project has built for being a reliable supplier of LNG since startup,” he said.