ExxonMobil Corp tops oil search bid

The National, Thursday July 14th, 2016

EXXON Mobil Corp has tabled an offer to buy InterOil Corp, topping the $2.2 billion deal from Australia’s Oil Search Ltd, according to people familiar with the matter.
In May, InterOil agreed to be acquired by Oil Search. But on June 30, InterOil admitted that it had received another non-binding offer – even as global markets were affected by Britain’s exit from the European Union.  InterOil and Oil Search declined to comment. Exxon did not respond to a request for comment. The people asked not to be named because the talks were private.
InterOil, which trades on the New York Stock exchange, is an attractive takeover target for companies looking to tap the potential of Papua New Guinea’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) reserves as it has a 36.5 percent stake in a project in the Elk-Antelope fields.
Papua New Guinea’s Elk-Antelope fields could hold at least 6.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, more than enough to fill one LNG processing train.
France’s Total SA, Oil Search and the Papua New Guinea government are partners in the project.
Exxon also has an LNG project in the country, considered a good location due to its high-quality gas and low costs. InterOil’s merger contract with Oil Search allows for negotiations with a rival bidder to proceed if certain conditions were met, the companies said in its 30 June announcement of a conditional, non-binding bid from an unnamed party. –Reuters