Larus PNG licence approved

PRIVATELY-owned Papua New Guinea-focused wildcatter Larus Energy has gained ministerial approval of a new licence that covers both its frontier Torres Basin blocks and a new application area over part of the giant Sunday prospect.
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Haydn Black


PPL 579 was granted on Friday covering the former PPL 326 blocks and 10 further sub-blocks for a term of 11 years.
Larus has already started to meet its first two-year work commitments, having successfully met all of its PPL 326 work commitments in the initial six-year term.
The expanded block covers some, and takes in a wider area around one of Larus' main prospects, the massive Sunday structure.
Larus also has an existing application onshore application, APPL580, to the north consisting of 10 sub-blocks, which it is hopeful of being granted following gazettal in PNG.
For the past few years Larus has been working to develop the Miocene play potential analogous to  the InterOil discoveries, in addition to the Mesozoic plays that were the original reason for taking out the permit in 2010.
Work to date has defined the Torres Basin and numerous giant targets in an area previously regarded as moose pasture.
It is anticipated the work on the Miocene, including the mapping of new leads and prospects, will be completed within the next six months.
The two-year work program includes reprocessing of seismic data, mapping of both Miocene and Mesozoic prospects and leads, and the expansion of studies to examine Tertiary-aged petroleum systems. 
With a recent $1.16 million capital raising completed, the private oiler says it is fully funded until 2019.
Larus had first mover advantage in an area where ExxonMobil and Total have since lodged applications in recent years.
The new Elk-Antelope partners have APPL589 and APPL576, covering 33, for Total and APPL570 for ExxonMobil, an area that is adjoining and south east of PPL 579 and may overlap with Total's applications. 
Larus has spent the past few years trying to scare up farm-in interest, and says that there has been an increase in interest in recent times as the likes of Oil Search and ExxonMobil consider a return to offshore drilling in the second half of the decade. 




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