PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Oil and gas major Santos is mulling the sale of a 5% interest in the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (PNG LNG) project after receiving a binding conditional offer from PNG national oil and gas company, Kumul Petroleum Holdings.
Kumul is offering $1.4-billion for the stake, including a proportionate share of project finance debt of approximately $0.3-billion.
To secure the offer, Kumul has paid an amount of $55-million to Santos which will be held in escrow to be released to Santos as a deposit for part payment of the offer price if it accepts the offer.
The potential sale would increase PNG’s equity interest in the project to approximately 22% supporting the PNG government objectives for the people of PNG to have a greater equity interest in the development of their natural resources.
Santos MD and CEO Kevin Gallagher said the potential sale of a 5% interest in PNG LNG to Kumul represents an opportunity to build strategic alignment for the future development of PNG’s natural gas resources, including via PNG LNG infrastructure.
“PNG LNG is a low-cost and low emissions intensity asset that contributes strong cash flows to the project participants and economic and social benefits to the nation,” Gallagher said.
“Following the transaction, Santos would maintain a 37.5% interest in this world-class project.
“Santos has been a committed partner in PNG for over 40 years, involved in more than 30 different licences and has significant community partnerships and projects across the nation.”
As part of the proposed transaction, Santos and Kumul will negotiate a heads of agreement to further collaborate on the development of Kumul’s regional capacity and capability, including carbon emission reduction opportunities to achieve net-zero operations.
JB North & Co is acting as financial adviser and Allens is acting as legal adviser to Santos.
The offer is conditional on Kumul obtaining the waivers of certain pre-emptive rights by each PNG LNG project participant under the project operating agreement to allow the transaction to proceed.
The offer is expressed to be irrevocable, except in limited circumstances, and will remain open for acceptance until the end of December 2022. Santos has agreed to deal exclusively with Kumul during this period regarding the sale of equity in PNG LNG.