February 27, 2014 / 5:25 AM / in 4 years

Oil Search buys 23 pct stake in PNG gas fields for $900 mln

MELBOURNE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Oil Search Ltd agreed on Thursday to acquire a 23 percent stake for $900 million in two Papua New Guinea gas fields that could feed a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in the country or supply gas to ExxonMobil’s PNG LNG project.

The deal gives Oil Search a stake in the Elk and Antelope gas fields alongside a rival PNG firm, InterOil, which brought in French giant Total SA as a partner last December in a deal worth up to $3.6 billion.

Oil Search said it would fund its acquisition by issuing 149 million new shares at A$8.20 a share to the Papua New Guinea government, allowing the government to retain a strategic stake in the company after giving up a A$1.68 billion stake to Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co.

“The PNG government is supportive of the development of all PNG hydrocarbon resources, including Elk/Antelope, in the earliest practical timeframe and we look forward to working with them and our joint venture partners to ensure the optimal outcome,” Oil Search said.

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