Merlin Petroleum Snags Stake in AGL's PNG LNG Assets for $800M

AGL has completed the sale of its PNG oil and gas assets for a total consideration of approximately US $800 million. Merlin Petroleum Company, an affiliate of Nippon Oil Exploration Limited (NOEX), exercised its preemptive rights and has acquired AGL’s interests in production licenses PDL 2 and PDL 4. Both Merlin Petroleum and Petroleum Resources (Kutubu) have elected to exercise their pre-emptive rights in respect of PL 2, the Kutubu pipeline license, and will acquire 6.0% and 5.9% of the 11.9% AGL interest in this license respectively.

Commenting on this transaction, Oil Search’s Managing Director, Peter Botten said, “We believe this is a good outcome for the PNG LNG Project and it has been welcomed by the Project Joint Venture Partners. Following the
announcement by AGL that it had reached an agreement to sell its interests in PNG for a consideration of US $800 million, Oil Search carefully considered whether or not to exercise it pre-emptive rights to match the offer made to AGL. While we regarded the price offered as attractive, Oil Search decided not to pre-empt.

"We are delighted that NOEX, which, through Merlin Petroleum, is an existing partner in all three licences, has increased its interests in PNG. This acquisition by NOEX demonstrates its high level of commitment to the PNG LNG Project, maintains the stability and strong alignment of the PNG LNG joint venture structure and endorses the widely held view that there is a high level of certainty that the PNG LNG Project will proceed.

"Based on the price paid by NOEX for the AGL assets, the see-through value to Oil Search for these assets only (excluding our other extensive gas interests outside the PNG LNG Project, exploration acreage and cash) is approximately A$8.00 per share.”

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