Petromin buys into Papua New Guinea fields

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Dec. 16 -- Papua New Guinea's state company Petromin has bought a 20.5% direct interest in onshore Elk-Antelope gas field discovered by InterOil in the country's Gulf province.

Petromin has made an initial cash payment to partially fund its share of field development costs.

InterOil Vice-Pres. Christian Vinson said his company has high hopes for the field based on recent testing. "We believe the discovery has the potential to make a major contribution to the future economic development of the nation," he said.

InterOil says recent testing at Elk-4 appraisal has recorded gas flow rates of 105 MMcfd of gas. Condensate rate is estimated to be 1,890 b/d. The company currently is drilling Antelope-1, about 2.8 km from Elk-4.

Development plans include supply to the proposed $5-7 billion Liquid Niugini LNG project, which is a rival of the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project to produce gas from the Kutubu-Hides group of fields in the country's central highlands region.

The initial phase of the Liquid Niugini gas project includes a pipeline to be built from the Gulf province to Port Moresby, where a gas processing plant will be constructed near InterOil's existing oil refinery. The plan includes a two-train LNG plant producing as much as 9 million tonnes/year of LNG with an on stream date of late 2013 or early 2014.

Liquid Niugini is owned equally by InterOil, Merrill Lynch, and Clarion Finanz.

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