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    PNG seeks bigger share in PNG LNG project: press

Summary

The move was triggered by the proposed A$21bn ($15.5bn) merger of Santos and Oil Search.

by: Shardul Sharma

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PNG seeks bigger share in PNG LNG project: press

The government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is seeking an extra 10% share in the ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG export project, the Australian reported on October 7. The move was triggered by the proposed A$21bn ($15.5bn) merger of Santos and Oil Search.

Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape met with Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher and Oil Search CEO Peter Fredericson in Port Moresby last week to discuss the deal.

The merger's completion depends on Santos securing approvals, including from the PNG government and Oil Search shareholders. According to media reports, PNG deputy prime minister Samuel Basil on September 9 raised concerns about the deal and said the merger might hurt the domestic gas market.

"All things considered, the state would like to pick a portion of whatever Santos will make available in their rebalancing," PNG Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua told the Australian.

Santos has stated that it would look to sell down part of its stake in PNG LNG project to help align partner holdings and another project set to be developed, TotalEnergies' Papua LNG project.

"The prime minister is asking that the joint venture project partners should all agree for the state to be given the first right of refusal to acquire some portion of that equity," Kua said.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the PNG government would expect to acquire the stake for a low price or potentially via a loan.