OSH 0.13% $7.86 oil search limited

santos trying to catch up in png

  1. 3,567 Posts.
    Santos trying to catch up in PNG
    March 14 2003

    Other players are well ahead. But that's all right - at least one would like to get out.

    The long-awaited shake-up of the complex and contentious Papua New Guinea oil and gas region could happen sooner rather than later.

    Details are sketchy but industry insiders say Santos has finally put in a bid for ChevronTexaco's various assets, including its interests in the Moran and Kutubu fields in PNG.

    The $US68 billion ($114 billion) integrated global energy company has been trying to extricate itself from PNG (a region that doesn't even warrant a mention on the company website) ever since ExxonMobil took over as operator of the PNG pipeline project and the Moran and Kutubu fields started to dry up.

    Santos, on the other hand, has been keen to get back into PNG. It needs to boost production and if it succeeds in buying Chevron's various PNG interests at a reasonable price (they're worth about $250 million), the explorer's bottom line will benefit immediately. Deutsche has been tipped as Santos's likely adviser.

    Views vary though on the impact such a sale will have on other players in the region and on the ever-changing fortunes of the PNG pipeline. Some say it would be good news, particularly for Oil Search, because Santos has been dragging its heels in the region and needs a bigger slice of the pie if it is to pick up its game. Others say that without government support, the pipeline project is always going to struggle.

    Santos shares fell 9c to $5.34 - a two-year low - and Oil Search fell 3c to 62c.
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