11 Jan 2006

PNG's Interoil hoping to reduce costs as it continues exploration

3:45 pm on 11 January 2006

The company which runs Papua New Guinea's only oil refinery is hoping to reduce costs as it continues prospecting for oil and gas.

Shares in Interoil tumbled on the Canadian market last week after it struck water and abandoned one of eight test wells on New Year's Eve.

The chief executive, Phil Mulacek, told investors in a global conference call today that the portable rig and lightweight seismic gear would keep running costs down.

Mr Mulacek says about 68 million US dollars remains out of the 125 million US dollar exploration budget for eight wells.

He says setting up the rig and putting 4-hundred and 50 people in the field was a large upfront cost, and he expects a relatively low burn rate for the remaining cash.

Interoil is now setting up drilling at the Elk Well in Gulf Province.