Total, Oil Search bow out

Papua New Guinea

SYDNEY , July 21, 2016 – Total on Thursday bowed out of the race to acquire Papua New Guinea-based InterOil, clearing the way for rivals ExxonMobil to take over the company and strengthen its hand in the gas-rich country.


In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, the French major said it would not counter Exxon’s offer. The US company earlier this week announced it had placed a rival bid, with InterOil hinting towards a preference for co-operation with Exxon.

The acquisition of InterOil, the operator of the PNG LNG venture, will allow Exxon to create synergies between the existing plant and the proposed Papua LNG project, which seeks to develop the onshore Elk-Antelope gas discoveries and calls for the construction of an LNG plant adjacent to the PNG LNG facility.

“The co-operation between the two projects does have the capacity to drive down the capital costs, optimise the timing, the use of resources and contributions of various fields into the next phase of growth.” Oil Search managing director Peter Botten told Bloomberg earlier.