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Location Southern Highlands Province, 570 kilometres north-west of Port Moresby
Permit The Moran field straddles Petroleum Development Licence 2 (PDL 2), Petroleum Development Licence 5 (PDL 5) and  Petroleum Development Licence 6 (PDL 6)
Oil Search's interest Oil Search owns a 60.05% interest in PDL 2, 40.69% interest in PDL 5 and 71.07% in PDL 6, giving it a 49.51% interest in the Greater Moran Unit.
JV Partners Exxon Mobil, held through Ampolex (PNG Petroleum) Inc, Esso Highlands Limited & Merlin Pacific Oil Company Limited (26.82%), Eda Oil Limited (11.28%), Merlin Petroleum Company (8.31%), Petroleum Resources Kutubu Limited (2.97%) and Petroleum Resources Moran Limited (1.10%) and Petroleum Resources North West Moran Limited (0.02%).
Operator Oil Search (PNG) Limited is the Operator of PDL 2 and the Moran Unit. ExxonMobil (Esso Highlands Limited) is the operator of PDL 5.
Recent production (net to Oil Search)

2014: 1.99 mmbbl
2013: 2.04 mmbbl
2012: 1.87 mmbbl

2P Oil Reserves - end 2014 (net to Oil Search) 13.8 mmbbl

Project Overview

The Greater Moran Oil Project straddles three licence areas, namely PDL 2, PDL 5 and PDL 6 and is located in the Southern Highlands Province, 480 kilometres north-west of Port Moresby.

The first Moran well was drilled in June 1996 and oil was discovered in September 1996 when the Moran 1X well sidetrack, which is located within PDL 2 (the licence area hosting the Kutubu Oil Project), encountered oil-bearing sands. Production commenced from the field in January 1998 by way of an Extended Well Test (EWT) programme, producing oil from the Moran 1X, 2X and 5 wells, all of which are located within PDL 2. An EWT on Moran 4 located in PDL 5 (PPL 138) commenced production in April 2000.

In March 2001, the Central Moran Unit Agreement between the PDL 2 and PDL 5 Joint Venture partners was executed and full field development of the Central Moran Project was completed in September 2002.

The Central Moran Oil Field was developed as a single Unit, with the Unit owned 45% by PDL 2 and 55% by PDL 5. The Central Moran Project was designed and installed based on:

  • Oil production capacity of up to 24,000 bopd; 
  • Gas injection capacity of up to 105 mmscfd; and
  • Oil recovery by injection of Moran solution gas supplemented by Agogo gas to maintain reservoir pressure.

Moran production is processed at the Agogo Production Facility (APF) and liquids are then piped to the Central Production Facility for further processing, storage and export through the export pipeline. The Moran PDL 5 participants pay a tariff to the PDL 2 and PL 2 partners for processing and transporting crude through the Kutubu system.

In late 2003, NW Moran, an extension of the Moran field towards the north-west, into PPL 219, was discovered. In September 2005, an Extended Production Test (EPT) of the NW Moran 1 well commenced, following the construction of a 23 kilometre pipeline linking NW Moran into the APF. This, together with infrastructure debottlenecking, the drilling of additional infill wells and active reservoir management using swing well optimisation, regular zone changes and targeted gas injection, has resulted in an increase in production rates in recent years.

In late 2006, the PDL 2, PDL 5 and PPL 219 (now PDL 6) joint venture partners agreed to establish a single Greater Moran Unit across the Moran and NW Moran fields. The unitisation split is 55:44:1 to PDL 5, PDL 2 and PDL 6 respectively, giving Oil Search a 49.51% interest in the Unit. A Petroleum Development Licence over the NW Moran field, PDL 6, was awarded in 2008.

Associated Gas field for PNG LNG Project

The Moran field is also one of four Associated Gas fields (Kutubu, Agogo, Moran, Gobe Main) that will contribute approximately 20% of the total gas feedstock over the life of the PNG LNG Project. However, Moran gas is not currently scheduled to be exported to the Project until 2024.


Moran crude oil is sold as part of “Kutubu Blend” together with crude oil from the Kutubu and Gobe fields and condensate from the PNG LNG Project. See Crude Marketing for further information.