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Oil Search Growth

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    Maybe on the Horizon SMH Article

    Oil Search is set to receive a bounty of more than $US700 million as its first distribution from the $US19 billion Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project, which has been deemed financially "complete" by its lenders.
    An additional $US107 million that has been held in escrow to satisfy Oil Search's lenders will now also be released, adding to the funds flowing to the PNG-focused oil and gas producer.

    Managing director Peter Botten said the cash flows will help fund growth, in particular Oil Search's ambitions to expand in LNG in Papua New Guinea, which he said "remains attractive based on the current oil price outlook".

    The ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG project, which began production last May, was funded by a then-record $US14 billion of project debt, and had to pass a "financial completion" test before its owners could start to enjoy the cash flows it is earning. The venture, which has transformed PNG's economy, has shipped 65 LNG cargoes to its customers in Asia since start-up. Santos also has a stake in the project.

    Andrew Barry, managing director of Exxon's PNG operations, described the financial completion as "an important milestone" for the venture.

    "With the successful achievement of this important milestone, completion guarantees will be released, loan repayments will commence, and co-venture distributions will be permitted according to the terms of the financing agreements," Mr Barry said in a separate statement.
    Mr Botten said the plant had been "operating very reliably, and at levels above expectations, for more than eight months."

    Oil Search said the $US700 million it will receive represents its share of cash flow net of operating costs and the funding of debt servicing since the start-up.
 
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