UMC Energy has completed a 3,000 line kilometre 2D seismic acquisition program in Papua New Guinea ahead of schedule.

The London-listed company updated shareholders on the progress of the 3,000 line kilometre 2D seismic acquisition program over the offshore petroleum prospecting licences 374 and 375.

The licences are 100 per cent held by Gini Energy, with UMC holding a 30% stake in Gini while CNOOC holds the majority interest.

UMC said seismic acquisition vessel Dong Fang Kan Tan No. 1 had successfully completed the 2D acquisition project on 3 January, recording a total of 3,015 line kilometres of 2D seismic data over the offshore permits.

UMC technical director Chris Hart said the 2D acquisition project was completed without incident and ahead of schedule.

“Processing of the 2D data is expected to be undertaken by CNOOC over the coming months,” he said.

In a separate PNG project update, UMC said the PNG Department of Petroleum and Energy had varied the minimum work conditions of PPL374 and PPL375.

The revised work requirements for the permits for year and three and four will involve Gini acquiring at least 1,000 line km of 2D seismic data, conduct geological and geophysical studies and, subject to the results, plan and conduct a 3D seismic survey over the license area at a cost of no less than US$6 million.

During year five and six Gini will need to drill one exploration well and, subject to the results of the first well, drill a second well.

“This modification to the original work program reflects sound technical requirements for these offshore permits to acquire 3D seismic data over the most prospective leads identified by the newly acquired 2D seismic prior to selection of the lowest risk prospects to undertake the drilling of exploration wells,” Mr Hart said.

Under an agreement inked in 2012, CNOOC is required to fund all exploration and appraisal expenditure up to commercial development by way of an interest free non-recourse loan to Gini.

Exploration and appraisal expenditure will be repaid to CNOOC out of production revenues and off-take of oil and gas once the assets enter production.