Oil and gas company Shell Australia has applied to the Papua New Guinean government for approval to begin operations in the country, where it has already drilled in recent years.
The application is expected to be presented in the coming weeks.
Shell has previously been operating in the Pacific Ocean off Papua New Britain, which has been a major oil and gas exporter for decades.
The company has a number of projects in Papua, including one to exploit gas in a deep-water field in the southern province of Mabra.
The Papua New Gansu government is expected later this year to approve Shell’s application for drilling in Papua.
Shell was originally set to commence operations in 2014.