17 May 2012

Oil Search says bids are in for PNG LNG share

11:28 am on 17 May 2012

The Australian company Oil Search says it's received several attractive bids for a share of some of its recent gas finds in Papua New Guinea.

The Wall Street Journal reports Oil Search's Chief Executive Peter Botten as saying they expect to conclude a deal by the end of July ahead of drilling in December.

Mr Botten says early bids to acquire stakes in the natural gas blocks in the Gulf of Papua have come from new entrants to PNG as well as companies with an existing footprint there.

Oil Search holds stakes of about 70-80% in the licenses and is looking at selling about half of its interest to secure an operator in developing natural gas reserves for export.

The company already has a 29% stake in ExxonMobil's 15.7 billion US dollar LNG project, which aims to ship liquefied natural gas to Asia from 2014.

Gas recently discovered by Oil Search at the P'nyang prospect in the country's Highlands could help underpin an expansion of the LNG project.