Total seals deal for smaller stake in Papua New Guinea bloc

MELBOURNE, March 26 Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:15am EDT

Related Topics

MELBOURNE, March 26 (Reuters) - Total has agreed to buy a 40 percent stake in Papua New Guinea's largest undeveloped gas field from InterOil Corp, in a revised deal announced on Wednesday, giving the French oil giant a smaller stake than first planned.

InterOil estimated it could receive between $1.62 billion and $3.5 billion all together from Total, depending on how large a reserve of gas is found in the fields.

The final stakes in the deal, which was first announced in December, were changed to reflect the acquisition by Oil Search of a 22.8 percent interest in the Elk and Antelope fields earlier this month.

Total will make an initial payment of $401 million for its 40.1 percent stake, down from a 61.3 percent stake.

A further $138 million will be due in two instalments when a final investment decision is made for an Elk-Antelope liquefied natural gas project and a first cargo is exported. Additional payments will be due based on the volume of gas discovered in the license area.

Once the reserves are certified, the project partners will have to decide whether to build a standalone LNG project, which Total and InterOil favour, or use the Elk and Antelope gas for an expansion of ExxonMobil's PNG LNG project, likely to be Oil Search's preferred option.

"We have a strong relationship with our joint venturers, strong support from the Papua New Guinea government, and we now look forward to leading development of the LNG project," Jean-Marie Guillermou, Total's exploration and production senior vice president Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

Oil Search owns a 29 percent stake in the rival $19 billion PNG LNG project, which is due to ship its first cargo around July.

Citi analysts estimated the rival projects could save $1 billion to $2 billion by not duplicating LNG infrastructure.

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video