ExxonMobil trumps Oil Search’s offer for Papua New Guinea’s InterOil
US energy giant ExxonMobil has, as expected, intervened to spoil Oil Search’s $US2.2 billion takeover ambitions for Papua New Guinea gas explorer InterOil, leaving the ASX-listed player needing to lift its own bid by about 10 per cent or be knocked out of the running.
Exxon’s bid, of $US45 ($59.4) per share in stock plus an additional payment depending on the size of InterOil’s Elk-Antelope gas field, has been deemed by InterOil’s board to be superior to Oil Search’s friendly deal struck in May.
That means Oil Search now has three days to match it to stay in the race. However even if it doesn’t, Port Moresby-based Oil Search is expected to benefit, given an Exxon takeover of InterOil would improve the chances of a new competitive LNG project in PNG.
US-listed InterOil advised earlier this month it had received an eleventh-hour alternative proposal from an unidentified third party but which The Australian Financial Review revealed was ExxonMobil. At that stage the offer, believed to be the second bid the US major has made for InterOil after an initial offer last year, had yet to be firmed up.
With French oil major Total SA supporting Oil Search’s offer, the tussle has drawn in some of the world’s most powerful energy heavyweights. ExxonMobil is the operator of the $US19 billion PNG LNG venture, but doesn’t have a stake at present in Elk-Antelope, which Oil Search and Total plan to develop to feed a new LNG venture, Papua LNG.
Total is aware of the latest developments, Oil Search said on Monday.
exxon wins..bad luck oil search..
will the money flow to png?