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InterOil, Exxon in talks over PNG natural gas fields

BY TESS STYNES

HOUSTON -- InterOil Corp. said it remains in talks with the Papua New Guinea unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. relating to the development of some of its gas resources and also finalized a $75 million loan facility to step up its exploration and drilling program.

InterOil said the talks with ExxonMobil have continued even though an exclusivity arrangement has lapsed. InterOil said it will continue to work with Exxon Mobil to increase the pace of monetizing its natural gas resources.

About half of the loan facility, or $37.5 million, will be drawn on immediately, with the remainder upon the execution of an agreement related to InterOil' s Elk and Antelope fields. Under the agreement InterOil would begin repayment following the earlier of the first resource payment or 12 months from the first drawdown.

Earlier this year, Exxon Mobil and InterOil were in exclusive talks to invest in the latter' s natural gas assets in Papua New Guinea, a move that could cement the impoverished Southeast Asian country' s position as a new significant energy exporter.

Houston-based InterOil owns the Elk and Antelope natural gas discoveries in Papua New Guinea. In 2009, it signed an agreement with the government to develop a large-scale liquefied natural gas project on the country' s south coast.

Earlier this year InterOil said it was discussing whether gas from the Elk and Antelope fields would support an expansion of a major Exxon Mobil-led PNG LNG project or the new gas-export facility.

InterOil shares were up 59 cents at $72.29 in recent premarket trading. Exxon Mobil shares closed Friday at $87.91 and weren' t actively trading premarket.

Dow Jones Newswires

08/19/2013

 

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