PNG govt seeks 50 pct of Interoil LNG project

PERTH Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:52am EST

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PERTH Nov 16 (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea's government is seeking a 50 percent stake in Interoil's $6 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said on Friday.

Interoil's current agreement with the Papua New Guinea government allows the government to take up to a 20.5 percent ownership in the company's Gulf LNG project.

The Gulf LNG development has so far struggled to find an experienced LNG operator.

In its third quarter earnings results on Thursday, Interoil said it was making good progress in negotiations with the Papua New Guinea government around its proposal to develop Gulf LNG, but did not mention any plans to increase the government's stake in the project.

The company also said it was also making good progress on plans for the first stage of the Gulf LNG project, a 3.8 million tonne per year plant which it expects to come online in 2015.

U.S.-based Interoil did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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