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In my last article on InterOil (NYSE: IOC ) , I discussed how close the company was to finalizing its $6 billion Papua New Guinea LNG project. Now, they have struck another preliminary sales agreement with Chinese company ENN and moved even closer to investing in the project.
Moving closer with each deal
The Papua New Guinea LNG project is InterOil's joint venture with Pacific LNG and will have an initial capacity of 5 million tons per annum (mtpa), to be expanded to 10 mtpa in phases. InterOil plans to invest $6 billion in its newest venture. Generally, for investing in any LNG project, companies look to secure around 85% in supply agreements of the total capacity.
After striking preliminary sales pacts with Gunvor, Noble (NYSE: NBL ) and Philippines' EWC, InterOil has sealed a commitment for 2.3 mtpa. With the ENN deal, whereby InterOil will supply 1 to 1.5 mtpa of LNG for a period of 15 years, the commitment stands at 3.3 mtpa to 3.8 mtpa, just a tad short of 4.25 mtpa or around 85% of the total capacity. So, InterOil is now very close to realizing the project.
The world's primary energy mix is going through a drastic change, with natural gas the fastest-growing resource and almost coming at par with coal and oil.
The surge in demand is expected to be the steepest in Asia, especially China and India. No wonder, then, that oil companies have been flocking to areas that promise rich natural gas reserves. The South Pacific, with countries like Papua New Guinea and Australia, is one such region. ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP ) is already working with Australia Pacific LNG, while Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) , Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A ) (NYSE: RDS-B ) and Apache (NYSE: APA ) also got a foothold through the Wheatstone LNG project. Exxon (NYSE: XOM ) , too, is setting up an LNG export facility in the Papua New Guinea fields. What adds to the attractiveness of the area is its proximity to the lucrative markets of Asia.
Foolish bottom line
Given the prospects of investing in an LNG project in the South Pacific region, InterOil is on its way to boost its top line. The company has already secured a big percentage of its initial capacity, and is expecting to enter into more supply contracts in the next few months. So, Fools, keep an eye on this one.
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Fool contributor Amitabha Chakraborty does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Chevron. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.