THE RAINTREE 1 exploration well in PPL 337, in the North New Guinea basin, has turned out to be dry.

Logging runs completed at the well, which reached a total depth of 1,150 metres on 4 June, revealed the project’s objective section did not contain hydrocarbons, but rather volcanic and igneous formations, which were the anomaly picked up by seismic surveys.

“Data from the logs, along with geological results from drilling and review of the seismic data indicate that all formations of interest have been intersected,” Kina said in an announcement.

“Drilling operations have therefore ceased and the well will be plugged and abandoned.”

Kina managing director Richard Schroder said there were positives to be taken from the well, which was the first exploration wildcat to be drilled in northern PNG for 21 years.

“While it is disappointing that the well did not intersect hydrocarbon in the primary objective, we are encouraged by the presence of significant gas shows in the shallow good quality porous sands above the primary objective, which we believe is highly significant in respect of our objectives in the forthcoming Kwila 1 well.”

The rig, camp and associated equipment is expected to have moved to the site of Kwila 1 by the end of June, with a spud date set for late June or early July.

Also located in PPL 337, the Kwila 1 well is targeting a Plio-Pleistocene sandstone reservoir down-dip of active gas seeps on the northern flank of the Banam Anticline, Kina said in a presentation to shareholders at its annual general meeting.

“A flat spot direct hydrocarbon indicator has been interpreted cutting across a thick north dipping sandstone body which may be a gas/water contact within the sand.”

The well was drilled by Energy Drilling Australia, using its Schramm 200 rig, which Kina said had helped reduce drilling costs for shallow oil and gas targets in northern PNG and the foreland areas of the Papua basin.

The Kwila 1 well spudded on 23 June, just as PNG Resources was going to press.

“We look forward to the drilling at Kwila-1 which will test a trap with an associated seismic anomaly which Kina believes is within a sandstone body on the northern flank of the Banam Anticline, which remains the largest untested geological feature in Papua New Guinea,” Mr Schroder said.

Gas shows in the upper section of Raintree 1 and gas seeps on the northern flank of the Banam Anticline give the company confidence that gas generation was taking place, he said.

“The well is a significant test of the hydrocarbon potential of the Ramu sub-basin and success will provide real positive benefits to mines and the communities within the Lae and Madang regions.”