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InterOil May Decide on PNG Gas Project as Soon as First Quarter

InterOil Corp. aims to make an investment decision on a liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea as early as the first quarter of 2011 after raising $266 million to fund ventures in the South Pacific nation.

“We’re in a position to move any time,” Chief Executive Officer Phil Mulacek said in an interview in Sydney today. “We don’t see anything there to prevent it.” The explorer, based in Canada’s Yukon Territory and run from Cairns in Australia, is awaiting the completion of engineering and design work, he said.

InterOil, whose shares have risen 73 percent since June 7, said Nov. 15 it expected to reach a final investment decision by the end of June. The Canadian company seeks to develop an LNG project in Papua New Guinea that would follow a larger, $15 billion LNG development led by Exxon Mobil Corp.

The project may begin production in late 2013 or early 2014, Mulacek said today. He declined to give a cost estimate.

InterOil in late September signed an agreement with Energy World Corp. to build a 2 million-ton-a-year LNG plant in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. The company also plans a project to tap resources from the Elk and Antelope fields and to process light oils through a venture with Mitsui & Co.

The explorer said last month it raised $266 million selling shares and notes.

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