JAPAN COMPANY BUYS AUSSIE ENERGY OPERATIONS IN PNG

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Parties call the 0.7 billion deal a‘win-win’ situation

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 21, 2008) – Nippon Oil Exploration (NOEX) of Japan has bought the AGL Energy shares for a massive A$1.1 billion [US$0.7 billion] which enabled it to acquire all the gas company’s gas assets in Papua New Guinea and increase its stake in the US$10 billion PNG LNG project.

Nippon, through its subsidiary Merline Petroleum Co - one of the joint venture partners in the project – increased its stake in the project from an estimated 1.7 percent to 5.3 percent .

The acquisition of AGL asset by NOEX was yesterday described by Government ministers and joint venture partners as a "win-win" situation for everyone.

Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma said: "We are very pleased to see a strong international and reputable company like Nippon deciding to become more involved, which demonstrates confidence in PNG LNG."

He said there were positive signs that the gas project would get up and running and assured of Government’s continued support.

NOEX president Makoto Koseki expressed hope the firm could further contribute to PNG’s economic development through the acquisition through its expertise and role in two other LNG projects in Southeast Asia.

"The deal imposes viability and sends a strong message of confidence in the project," he said.

Mr. Koseki also conveyed Nippon’s interest to seek other opportunities in PNG including in crude oil development and other gas projects.

Augustine Manu, managing director of Mineral Resource Development Corp (MRDC), described the event as "historic for all landowners" as the acquisition was a strategic asset for the landowners who acquire safe interest in the PDL2 gas pipeline

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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