Anyone expecting Oil Search (OISHF) to conclude a deal soon with Total (TOT -2.1%) and InterOil (IOC -1.3%) to join their Papua New Guinea gas project may be thinking wishfully, according to a WSJ report.
OISHF likely will need to issue new shares to fund a deal, but that isn’t easy to do right now, as any capital raise likely would happen at a discount to the prevailing stock price; but it's the potential blow it would inflict on the government in Papua New Guinea that is more likely to stay Oil Search CEO Peter Botten’s hand for a while, David Winning writes.
Another take is that TOT will want to appraise the gas reserves at the Elk and Antelope fields further before rushing to bring in a new partner; if TOT finds there is enough gas to support a new export project, then it makes partnering with OIS less attractive.
Oil Search International (OIS) says it is in talks about getting involved in development of the Elk and Antelope oil discoveries in Papua New Guinea, which may contain more than 5T cu. ft. of natural gas.
Just three days ago, InterOil (IOC) agreed to sell a majority interest in the discoveries to Total (TOT) in a deal worth up to US$3.6B, depending on how much gas is confirmed to be there.
TOT had hinted at a selldown when confirming the deal with IOC but didn’t name a prospective partner; one way to facilitate OIS’s entry into Elk-Antelope could be an equity swap involving part of its stake in the Taza oil and gas discovery in Iraq's Kurdistan.
InterOil (IOC) fell 37% today after agreeing to sell Total (TOT) a majority stake in its Papua New Guinea natural gas discoveries for a price that won’t be known for at least a year.
IOC priced the deal at $1.5B-$3.6B, but it won’t receive a definitive price until at least 2015, Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov says, adding there are "some elements of uncertainty/ambiguity" still to be resolved.
On the other hand, Papua New Guinea has substantial gas resources, and the deal "brings in a world-class LNG operator,” one energy consultant says, which "will give people confidence that these reserves can now be monetized."
The press release issued by IOC reads little like the one issued by TOT: Total says depending on the results of the delineation of the Elk and Antelope gas fields, "this could lead to a final investment decision by 2016 for the development of the fields and the construction of a liquefaction plant located onshore on the Gulf of Papua."
InterOil (IOC) +4.5% premarket after reporting a Q3 loss but with better than expected revenues.
On Papua New Guinea: "Negotiations with a number of supermajors regarding the monetization of our gas resources are in the final stages. We expect to be able to make an announcement on the selection of our development partner before year-end."
As the exclusivity arrangement has lapsed in InterOil's (IOC +4.6%) ongoing negotiations with Exxon Mobil (XOM) in Papua New Guinea, Upstream reports Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) has rejoined the battle for IOC's natural gas resources in the country.
A Platts report in May had indicated Shell was a frontrunner in winning a share of IOC's LNG project in the country, but no similar reports followed.
InterOil (IOC -5%) bounces a bit from session lows after responding to an earlier report from Papua New Guinea that said Exxon Mobil's (XOM) exclusive period for negotiations for a large stake in the Elk-Antelope fields had passed without a deal.
IOC says it does not to comment on market rumors or speculation, but negotiations with XOM regarding an agreement to monetize the Elk and Antelope fields are ongoing.