SINGAPORE (Dow Jones)
Liquid Niugini Gas Ltd., a Papua New Guinea-based three-way joint venture formed to manage a gas project there, will likely get new partners, the head of the project's operator said Wednesday.
Up to 20% of Liquid Niugini Gas's energy project is for sale and major oil companies and utilities in Europe, China and Japan have shown a keen interest in it, said Phil Mulacek, chairman and chief executive officer of Canada's InterOil Corp., the project operator.
"They all aim for a piece of the whole value chain for strategic reasons...we will announce more when things are firm," he added.
Liquid Niugini Gas is a three-way joint venture between InterOil, investment firm Pacific LNG and Merrill Lynch Commodities, a unit of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
While Pacific LNG will remain the major shareholder, the plans of Bank of America Merrill Lynch aren't clear, given the financial crisis, according to Mulacek.
"Merrill Lynch has the rights to up to 20% of the interests of the LNG plant...we will soon know the company's direction."
Liquid Niugini Gas's US$5 billion LNG project is due to come online in 2014, with an initial production target of 3.5 million-5 million metric tons.
Some condensate production will start next year and be routed to InterOil's refinery in Papua New Guinea, Mulacek said.
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