Elk and Antelope ‘just the start,’ says InterOil


Cashed up after the completion of several recent deals, oil and gas company InterOil Corporation has widened its exploration focus to include up to 40 promising new targets.

Interoil licencesInterOil Corporation is confident that substantial resources will be added to complement its highly prospective Elk and Antelope gas fields in Gulf Province.

Singapore-based InterOil revealed that about 40 potential targets beyond Elk and Antelope in Petroleum Retention License (PRL) 15 have been identified and now form part of the company’s growing exploration program.

According to Laurie Brown, an independent upstream consultant for InterOil, the company is well positioned to build a strong portfolio within PRL 15 for many years to come.

‘InterOil’s prospect inventory is deep and wide with currently about 40 potential targets, providing more than a decade of high-growth running room. In our view, Antelope is not alone,’ Brown, who has 25 years experience as a geologist in PNG, explained during a conference call

InterOil's Michael Hession

InterOil’s Michael Hession

‘In short, all key components that are fundamentally prerequisites to exploration success are present in the Eastern Papuan Basin and we’re able to map them out. Clearly, the Elk, Antelope and Triceratops discoveries are proof that this basin is working, but that’s just the start.

‘We see those same signatures potentially throughout the greater acreage position. We’ve unlocked all the data across the basin and we have built a detailed portfolio of potential targets.’

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Immediate focus

‘InterOil’s immediate future is focused on the multi-billion dollar Antelope LNG development, which it is advancing with French major Total SA after the companies teamed up in December 2013.

The company is working towards spudding (begin drilling) the Antelope-4 and Antelope-5 wells later this year and expects certification of the Elk and Antelope resource by the second half of 2015.

To reach this point, InterOil has made widespread changes to the company over the past 18 months by implementing a three-step transformation strategy aimed at stabilising the company, monetising its assets and securing its future.

A key element of this strategy involved streamlining its business structure through a deal to sell its PNG refinery and downstream business to Singapore-based Puma Energy Group for US$525.6 million (K1.3 billion).

‘New InterOil’

This sale, along with of a US$300 million loan the company secured in June, has left the company fully funded, with access to US$885 million at June 30, to further its expansion plans.

‘Indeed what you see today is effectively a new InterOil,’ InterOil chief executive officer Michael Hession said.

‘We’ve stabilised the business while streamlining our structure and offices, redirecting our focus and attracting a first-class management team that has hit the ground running. We continue to secure our future through our material interest in the multibillion dollar Antelope LNG development.’

Part of InterOil’s refocus included the appointment of Chris Finlayson as chairman. Finlayson adds almost 40 years of exploration and production experience in the LNG industry to the company.

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