By GYNNIE KERO
EXXONMOBIL is expected to complete the transaction for the multi-billion kina acquisition of InterOil this week after the Supreme Court of Yukon gave its approval yesterday.
According to InterOil, ExxonMobil is buying all its assets in a deal valued at US$2.5 billion (K7.94 billion).
On top of that is a contingent resource payment comprising US$7.07 per (InterOil) share for each trillion cubic feet of gas equivalent (tcfe) of gross resource certified in the Elk-Antelope field above 6.2 tcfe – up to a maximum of 10 tcfe. In June last year, Oil Search Ltd made an offer to acquire InterOil. But InterOil’s shareholders voted to accept Exxon’s offer calling it a “superior proposal”.
In a market release by InterOil yesterday, the arrangement was approved by more than 91 per cent of the shares voted at a special meeting last Tuesday and has now received all necessary approvals.
The court granted a final order approving the arrangement between InterOil and ExxonMobil.
A spokesperson for ExxonMobil told The National yesterday that the acquisition of InterOil as envisioned in the amended agreement “continues to represent a significant value to the Government and people of Papua New Guinea, as well as to InterOil shareholders”.
“ExxonMobil looks forward to closing the transaction in accordance with the plan of arrangement,” the spokesperson said.
The acquisition would add more natural gas to Exxon’s portfolio, and offer more reserves to supply for the company’s $19 billion (K58.4 billion) PNG LNG plant.
InterOil holds a 35.5 per cent of petroleum retention license (PRL) 15 of the Papua LNG project in Gulf which it had proposed as a second LNG project in the country.
The majority shareholder is French oil and gas company Total SA. Total yesterday said it had been made aware of the current InterOil and Exxon Mobil transaction status.
Managing director Philippe Blanchard told The National: “Once this transaction is completed, we will welcome ExxonMobil as our new JV (joint venture) partner on PRL-15 and the joint venture will keep progressing the Papua LNG project. The future of InterOil employees is yet to be made public although sources said some would be taken on board by ExxonMobil.
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission which had been monitoring the transaction since it was announced yesterday that it would assess the court’s decision first before making a comment.
Commissioner and chief executive officer Paulus Ain said earlier this month that it was continuing its independent assessment on the acquisition of InterOil by ExxonMobil.
“The ICCC would like to state that the proposed transaction needed careful review before forming a view on potential adverse implications on competition in Papua New Guinea given the complexity of the different segments (upstream to downstream) of the petroleum industry (in the country) that are likely to be affected,” Ain told The National.