Japan’s Inpex is selling 10% of its stake in a deepwater block offshore eastern Malaysia to Australian player Santos, although no sale price is being revealed.

The former, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Inpex Offshore South West Sabah, Ltd., says it has reached agreement to transfer 10% of Deepwater Block R to Santos Sabah Block R Limited. The acreage covers 672 sq km in water depths ranging from 100-1,400 m (328-4,593 ft).

Inpex added that Santos Sabah Block R Ltd. had also separately agreed to acquire a further 10% participating interest in the block from Japan’s JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration (Deepwater Sabah), Ltd., bringing the Australian’s total participating interest in the block to 20% upon fulfilment of due procedures.

Inpex currently owns a 37.5% participating interest (inclusive of the portion to be transferred to Santos) in the block, where it is conducting exploration activity alongside operator JX Nippon and Petronas.

After the deal goes through, the block R interests will be: JX (27.5%, operator), Inpex (27.5%), Petronas (25%) and Santos (20%). The block lies in an area where large reserves of oil and gas, such as the producing deepwater Kikeh and the Gumusut-Kakap oil fields were discovered.

It is also situated in the vicinity of Deepwater Block S, where Inpex Offshore North West Sabah is conducting exploration activities as operator, and recently also transferred a portion of its participating interest there to Santos. In Block S Inpex is the operator with a 50% stake, with Petronas and Santos holding 25% each.

Up to three wildcat wells are planned to be drilled starting this year in Block R.

Inpex and Santos are of course already jointly engaged in several exploration and production activities such as the Bayu-Undan Project in the Joint Petroleum Development Area between Australia and East Timor, and several exploration permits adjacent to the Ichthys LNG project off north-western Australia.

  • Also offshore Sabah, Murphy Oil has confirmed that its wholly-owned subsidiaries Murphy Sabah Oil Co., Ltd. and Murphy Sarawak Oil Co., Ltd. have closed on the second phase of the ongoing sale of 30% of Murphy’s Malaysian oil and gas assets to Pertamina. The second phase covers the remaining one-third of the transaction (10%) of Murphy’s Malaysian oil and gas assets. The first phase for two-thirds of the transaction closed on 18 December last year. The total transaction for 30% of Murphy’s Malaysian assets had an aggregate sale price of US $2 billion, subject to normal closing adjustments, with an effective date of 1 January, 2014.