InterOil Corp. (IOC) rose after announcing government approval of its proposed Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas plant, allowing the sale of stakes in the project to help finance it.
InterOil climbed 1.9 percent to $62.57 at the close in New York. The shares have increased 22 percent this year.
Approval by Papua New Guinea’s National Executive Council “clears the way” for the project, initially designed to export 3.8 million metric tons a year, the Australian company said in a statement today. Sale of a stake in the Elk and Antelope gas fields and in the initial plant output is anticipated “in the coming weeks,” according to the statement.
“We’re now in a position to fast-track the project,” Phil Mulacek, chief executive officer of the Cairns-based company, told investors yesterday on a conference call. “The green flag has dropped and the final phases of bidding and closure can begin. We expect to finalize our LNG partner agreements immediately.”
Papua New Guinea will increase its stake in the Elk and Antelope fields to 50 percent from 22.5 percent, InterOil said. Terms of the added interest will be the subject of discussions that “will commence shortly,” the company said.
InterOil is in talks with oil companies and Asian utilities about becoming partners in the fields and taking output from the Gulf LNG facility.
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