US independent giant ConocoPhillips has been awarded a new shallow-water exploration block offshore Sabah, East Malaysia.

Block SB 405 covers 5857 square kilometres in the North East Sabah basin, off the coast of Sandakan.

Water depths at the acreage are up to 100 metres.

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“The entry of ConocoPhillips with its world-class proprietary seismic technology into Block SB 405 is expected to enhance the hydrocarbon resource potential off the coast of Sabah,” said senior vice president of Malaysia Petroleum Management, Mohamed Firouz Asnan.

“This is an area that has a proven working petroleum system with previous discoveries such as Kuda Terbang and Nymphe fields.”

Malaysia’s national oil and gas company Petronas on Friday awarded the PSC to operator ConocoPhillips with an 85% interest. Its sole partner on the offshore block is Malaysia’s upstream player Petronas Carigali on 15%.

“The partnership with Petronas Carigali provides that winning combination to support the potential development of the resource within the North East Sabah basin area upon successful commercialisation of the discoveries.

“Under our right asset, right player strategy, we hope to unlock the full potential of the hydrocarbon resources in Malaysia towards successfully delivering clean and reliable energy to our customers in Malaysia and abroad,” he added.

Petronas said that this award is expected to boost exploration activity offshore Sabah, where more acreage is up for grabs in the 2021 bid round.

ConocoPhillips already has stakes in the Block J, Block G and Kebabangan blocks offshore Sabah and blocks WL4-00 and SL 304 offshore Sarawak, also East Malaysia.