Sunday, April 19, 2009

InterOil denies cheap gas deal

PORT MORESBY, Sunday, April 19: INTEROIL Corporation has denied claims it has agreed to sell cheap gas to China.

A statement issued by the company said this suggestion published by a local daily newspaper on its front page last Friday is without basis and therefore “totally untrue”.

Chief executive Phil Mulacek described the claims as ‘absolute nonsense” and insulting to the government and companies of China that confirmed LNG would be expected to be purchased at market Prices.

“We regret that allegations regarding agreements signed in Beijing this week have been misrepresented in the media,” he said.

“It is a shame that so many misleading and untrue statements were published without the basic facts first being confirmed with InterOil”. 

The facts were told to Minister Arthur Somare while in China and that the InterOil LNG pricing would not cause harm to the Exxon- Oil Search project.

“Those behind this rumor have no understanding of the process we are currently involved in to finance the development of the Elk and Antelope gas fields”, Mr Mulacek said.

“The truth is no ‘cheap gas’ deal has been done nor do we intend being party so such an arrangement”.

Mr Mulacek said that an historic deal had recently been signed in Beijing with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the nation’s largest offshore petroleum explorer.

The initial accord commits the Chinese company, InterOil and the PNG-owned Petromin Holdings to agreeing to commercial terms for the financing of the government’s stake in the $US5-billion project.

“At the moment we are seeking strategic partners from throughout the world to help underwrite and develop the project,” he said.

“The recent China deal is just one part of that process.

“Any suggestion the Beijing accord is about the sale of cheap gas is far wide of the mark”.

 “It is fiction - a fantasy devoid of reality.” 

Mr Mulacek said, on a positive note, the proposed development of the Elk/Antelope gas reserves would be a major windfall for the entire nation and underpinned the first train of LNG production.

“This project would create jobs and generate substantial wealth for Papua New Guinea, its government and people for many years to come,” he said.

“It has the potential to make a significant contribution to GDP and the balance of payments”.

The project involves the laying of a pipeline from the gas fields in the Gulf province and construction of a gas processing plant on land adjacent to the InterOil’s Port Moresby refinery.

It is expected that gas would begin flowing from the new facility in 2014.

“We are enormously proud of the part InterOil has played in the Liquid Niugini Limited’s LNG project so far”, Mr Mulacek said.

“That is why we are extremely disappointed when erroneous and damaging false reports about it receive currency”. 


For further information and to arrange media interviews contact:

Susuve Laumaea

Senior Manager Media Relations InterOil Corporation

Ph: (675) 321 7040

Mobile: (675) 684 5168




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