PETRONAS and its Petroleum Arrangement Contractors recorded 19 exploration discoveries and two exploration-appraisal successes, contributing over 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) of new resources for Malaysia in 2023.

This achievement was the result of an intensified exploration programme pursued in the last few years, which saw the drilling of 25 wells; the highest number of exploration wells drilled in a single year since 2015.

More than half of the discoveries were made in the Sarawak Basin, primarily in two clusters within the Balingian and West Luconia geological provinces. Among the notable discoveries are Gedombak-1, Sinsing-1, Machinchang-1 and Mirdanga-1 by PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd (PETRONAS Carigali), along with Babadon-1 and Chenda-1 by Thailand’s PTTEP.

Three discoveries were made in the Northwest Sabah Basin. Layang-Layang-1 by PETRONAS Carigali, as well as Hikmat-1 and Dermawan-1 by PTTEP proved a working petroleum system that unravels new opportunities in the ultra-deepwater and deepwater areas. Another drilling campaign is ongoing within the same proven basin in the shallow waters off the coast of Sabah.

Two other discoveries were made within the Malay Basin. Hibiscus Oil & Gas Malaysia found gas in Bunga Lavatera-1 well nearby the PM3 hub, and brought it onstream with a flowrate of about 50mmscf per day within the same year. PTTEP found oil and gas in Simpoh Beludu-1, having penetrated the hydrocarbon-filled reservoir in the deeper Group K sands.

PETRONAS Senior Vice President of Malaysia Petroleum Management (MPM), Mohamed Firouz Asnan said, “This significant exploration success validates our belief that there is more potential within the so-called matured Malaysia’s basins, using new 3D seismic data and the latest software technologies to better detect deeper hydrocarbon potentials.”

“We fully support our partners’ adoption of new exploration strategies which focus on near-field potential, that will enable quicker monetisation of the discoveries. This is crucial in meeting the rising energy demand not just in Malaysia but also to countries in the region.

MPM will be launching the next series of the Malaysia Bid Round early next year, offering more exploration blocks and discovered resources opportunities to potential investors. The strong support from producing states as well as the federal government has been crucial in the success of the country’s resource base growth,” he added.