Agreement with state-backed petroleum firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) sees the deadline for Empyrean to drill the first well within Block 29/11 now moves to June 12 2022.
Nonetheless, the company told investors it remains committed to safely drilling its first well as soon as practicable.
"This 12-month extension is a further example of the excellent cooperation and understanding between CNOOC and Empyrean,” said Tom Kelly, Empyrean chief executive.
“The extension provides enormous de-risking and flexibility with respect to the planning and drilling of the first phase exploration well in Block 29/11 without having to invoke force majeure.
“COVID-19 has made many operations unsafe and uncertain, especially travel, and this extension provides the flexibility for a much safer approach to our operations.”
“It is Empyrean's intention to drill this first exploration well as soon as practicable and we continue to take proactive steps towards a safe drilling operation in China.
“Put simply, if we can safely drill this first well ahead of the new extension - we will."