Sonk was responding to a statement by Oil Search managing director Peter Botten in The National on Monday that seven billion barrels of oil were yet to be discovered in the country.
Botten told The National that so far, only 40 per cent of the oil and gas resources had been tapped into.
“We think we’ve found about 40 per cent of the reserves in PNG and we estimate that there is a further seven billion barrels of oil equivalent yet to be found,” Botten said.
KPHL is the State’s oil and gas company mandated to protect and maximise the value of the country’s petroleum assets so that it can contribute to the wealth of the people.
Sonk said KPHL supported Oil Search’s views.
“KPHL support’s Oil Search view that the country’s oil and gas potential has not yet being fully exploited,” he said.
“We have only discovered close to 30TCF (trillion cubic feet) of gas but there is more to be found, especially offshore of PNG which has huge potential and yet to be tested.
“We need more seismic survey and exploration drilling to find the reserves.”
He said KPHL needed to help in policy-making, especially the third party access policy and promote downstream processing and strategic pipeline to ensure the country had a sustainable petroleum industry.
“All the unexplored areas will be explored if we have strong, stable but flexible policies that encourage exploration and also start diversifying the use of gas so more value-add can be realised,” Sonk said.
“Currently, we only cooling down the gas into LNG and exporting. So we need to be thinking energy security for ourselves by reserving some for power generation and then build the downstream processing, especially the petrochemical industry.” The National / PMW