Mubadala Oil and Gas has started drilling its fourth well in the Manora oilfield in the Gulf of Thailand to probe an untested rock formation for oil.
So far Pearl Energy, the South East Asian unit of Mubadala Oil, and its partner Northern Gulf Petroleum have established the presence of 24 million barrels of oil in the offshore field they discovered last November. Pearl owns 60 per cent of the field and Northern Gulf the other 40 per cent. It is one of several discoveries Pearl made last year in Thailand and Vietnam.
"Manora 4 is a step-out well targeting an area adjacent to the discoveries at Manora 1, 2 and 3," said Tap Oil, the Australian oil junior that owns 75 per cent of Northern Gulf.
"Manora 4 is also planned to penetrate a deeper interval, not previously drilled in this area, which has the potential for deeper oil reservoirs not yet discovered."
Peter Stickland, the chief executive of Tap, said: "We look forward to working with the operator Pearl Energy to advance the appraisal of the Manora field and the exploration of the surrounding acreage."
Maurizio La Noce, the chief executive of Mubadala Oil, last week said South East Asia was one of several regions in which the company hoped to expand its oil and gas production from its total of more than 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. That already represents a 14 per cent increase from a year ago.
The company's other core areas are the MENA and Caspian regions.
Most of the recent production increase resulted from ramping up a project with the US company Occidental Petroleum to boost production from the Mukhaizna heavy oilfield in Oman, and the start of another venture with Occidental and Bahrain's National Oil and Gas Authority aimed at tripling output from Bahrain's only oilfield.
Mubadala Oil is also exploring for oil and gas in the Caspian Sea off Kazakhstan and is interested in other prospects off Turkmenistan.