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  1. munch

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    Dow Jones Business News
    Oil Search: Expects Clarity On PNG Gas Pipe By Mid-2003
    Tuesday March 4, 8:21 pm ET


    MELBOURNE -(Dow Jones)- Papua New Guinea oil and gas company Oil Seach Ltd. expects by mid-year to be in a position to decide how to move forward with plans to commercialize its gas reserves in the country, including its preferred option for a pipeline link to markets in Australia.
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    "We believe by the middle of the year, when greater clarity on the PNG pipeline is available, we will be moving to commercialize our gas in some form or another - through a pipeline hopefully, and, or through other complementary exercises," Managing Director Peter Botten told a briefing of analysts Wednesday.

    Botten said 2003 is a "critical" year for deciding how to commercial its PNG gas reserves.

    "Commercialization of the PNG gas project is a requirement this year," he told analysts.

    Botten hinted that Oil Search isn't interested in bidding for ExxonMobil's gas assets in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins in South Australia and Queensland that are now up for sale. Botten did confirm that Oil Search had been approached on its potential interest in bidding.

    "I would classify them as relatively mature assets in delivery of value terms, and certainly from my point of view I would have to be comfortable that there was an upside value in those assets before spending very substantial time in evaluating them," Botten said.

    "It wouldn't be our number one area of growth opportunity," he said.

    Botten said Oil Search it aiming to sell its stakes in the Porgera and Misima gold mines in PNG over the next six or nine months, but noted that any sale will depend on price.

    "It really comes down to establishing a price," Botten said, noting that the assets are performing well.

    -By Andrew Trounson, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9614-2664; [email protected]

    Botten said 2003 is a "critical" year for deciding how to commercialize its PNG gas reserves.

    "Commercialization of the PNG gas project is a requirement this year," he told analysts.

    Botten hinted that Oil Search isn't interested in bidding for ExxonMobil's gas assets in the Cooper and Eromanga Basins in South Australia and Queensland that are now up for sale. Botten did confirm that Oil Search had been approached on its potential interest in bidding.

    "I would classify them as relatively mature assets in delivery of value terms, and certainly from my point of view I would have to be comfortable that there was an upside value in those assets before spending very substantial time in evaluating them," Botten said.

    "It wouldn't be our number one area of growth opportunity," he said.

    Botten said Oil Search it aiming to sell its stakes in the Porgera and Misima gold mines in PNG over the next six or nine months, but noted that any sale will depend on price.

    "It really comes down to establishing a price," Botten said, noting that the assets are performing well.

    -By Andrew Trounson, Dow Jones Newswires; 61-3-9614-2664; [email protected]

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