TALISMAN Energy will take the lead developing the highly prospective Pandora gas fields in the Gulf of Papua, a partner in the project has announced.

The Pandora gas fields are located about 200 kilometres west of Port Moresby and comprise two discoveries at a water depth of about 110 metres.

The Canadian company will hold a 25 per cent interest in Petroleum Retention Licence 38, which covers about 76,500 hectares and nine graticular blocks.

Its partners in the project include Perth-based Cott Oil and Gas, which will hold 40%, in the licence, Kina Petroleum (25%) and Santos subsidiary Barracuda with 10%.

Cott said the consortium’s win of the stake was a potential game-changer for the company –catapulting it into a prospective region which could have the ability to feed future liquefied natural gas plants in the area once the gas is commercialised.

The joint venture partners will review additional technical information in the first 12 months to confirm, and potentially upgrade, the petroleum resource.

The partners will also undertake development and commercialisation studies that will consider emerging gas technologies such as mid-scale FLNG and investigate potential markets.

Cott said the addition of the stake to its PNG portfolio would give it interests in over 1 million hectares in the country.

Kina said the location of the PRL 38 gas resource was valuable at it was close to potential gas resources in and around PPLs 338 and 339, where it had previously carried out a seismic acquisition program.

“We see this as invaluable given the existence of material discoveries in these regions and the prospectively of our acreage in nearby areas,” Kina managing director Richard Schroder said.

“The emergence of mid-scale LNG development options, as well as an increasing demand for power, not merely in PNG but also in neighbouring counties, also brings the licence’s existing and future potential resources into focus.”