The global energy giant Exxon Mobil has agreed to buy InterOil, a driller focused on projects in Papua New Guinea, for at least US$2.5 billion.
Exxon beat out a competing bid by Oil Search Limited, a PNG oil exploration company part-owned by the country's government, which had offered to pay about $2.2 billion.
InterOil's holdings in PNG include the large-scale liquefied natural gas project, and the deal includes interests in six licences in PNG, including the large, undeveloped Elk-Antelope gas field.
The proposal from ExxonMobil comprises a fixed price of $US45 per InterOil share, paid in ExxonMobil shares, and a contingent resource payment.
In May, Oil Search announced it would buy out InterOil and also sell part of its exploration assets and interests acquired from a petroleum retention licence to the French energy giant Total.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Oil Search said it would not submit a revised takeover offer for InterOil.