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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Indonesian Petroleum Association


IPA-AAPG Deepwater and Frontier Symposium, 2004
Pages 137-157

Wiriagar Deep: The Frontier Discovery That Triggered Tangguh LNG

Larry J. Casarta, Jonathan P. Salo, Suherman Tisnawidjaja, Sonny T. Sampurno


The Wiriagar Deep-1 (WD-1) discovery well was the first commercial pre-Tertiary hydrocarbon discovery in Indonesia. The 1994 discovery of the giant Wiriagar Deep gas field by ARCO Indonesia's New Ventures Exploration Department triggered an intensive, four-year exploration and appraisal program on three adjacent blocks in Papua, Indonesia that subsequently led to ARCO's 1998 announcement of the Tangguh LNG Project, comprising six offshore and onshore gas fields with a total reserve potential estimated at 24 TCF.

The discoveries were the result of new Indonesian Government incentives promoting 'Pre-Tertiary, Frontier, and Deepwater' exploration, and rested on foundations provided by earlier exploration activity; careful analyses and evaluation of WD-1 data; and the continued evolution of play concepts and exploration goals in response to technical surprises encountered during the exploratory phase.

Originally conceived as a 'Wiriagar Deep oil-play' in Bintuni Basin's Jurassic succession, the discovery of multiple gas reservoirs and no oil on the WD-1 was initially greeted with disappointment. However, analyses of WD-1 data in conjunction with a re-evaluation of regional data, led to a revised 'Wiriagar Deep gas-play' concept predicting commercial Jurassic gas accumulations at the Wiriagar Deep structure. A re-evaluation of Bintuni Basin regional data also led a new exploration concept, the 'Vorwata gas-play'. Subsequent drilling of the offshore Wiriagar Deep-2 confirmed the giant Wiriagar Deep gas field accumulation, and drilling of the offshore Vorwata-1 led to the discovery of the adjacent supergiant Vorwata gas field.

The discovery team's detailed analysis of unexpected drilling results and re-evaluation of regional data from a new perspective resulted in an evolution of play-concepts and exploration goals that triggered the development of Indonesia's first commercial Mesozoic hydrocarbon discovery, and eastern Indonesia's first commercial LNG project.

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