The island is best known for the immigration detention centre the Australian government is urgently trying to re-open to stop more boatloads of illegal refugees, yet the ocean around it also represents the most northern possible licences in PNG's territorial waters.
According to the latest Department of Petroleum and Energy licence map PNGIndustryNews.net has been able to obtain (January 2012), Petromin ‘s Application for Petroleum Prospecting Licence 406 and adjacent APPL 412 collectively surround the island.
The SOE also had APPL410 to the west and APPLs 411,407 and 408 directly north of these three tenements.
While Triple Plate Junction has started drilling potential gold-copper targets on Manus Island this year, there were no petroleum licences or APPLs anywhere near it as of the first half of 2011.
According to the more recent data, Petromin's offshore exposure north of New Ireland remained largely the same as last year with PPL 345 and APPLs 346 and 347 yet to be converted into PPLs.
However, Petromin has additionally filed for APPL 409 since the first half of 2011, which is directly north of APPL 346.
From west to east, the entire stretch of Petromin's contiguous northern offshore APPL and PPL acreage is conservatively longer than 500km. PNGIndustryNews.net has no data on the prospectivity of this offshore expanse.
The underway joint technical study agreement between Petromin and Shell is on track according to Shell.
"The JTSA is progressing well with three Petromin staff working on the joint study team with Shell in Kuala Lumpur, the JTSA will be completed in 2012 as planned," a Shell spokesperson recently told PNGIndustryNews.net.
Last year Shell said the study will include "the major hydrocarbon basins in PNG".