According to the Australian Financial Review today, Japanese trading and investment house Marubeni Corporation is believed to be seeking a stake in the Santos and Oil Search-backed PNG LNG gas project.
As Santos and its advisers at Deutsche Bank and Lazard juggle a fistful of proposals stemming from the wide-ranging strategic review, Street Talk understands one option under serious consideration for Santos is to sell a 3.6 per cent stake in PNG LNG to Marubeni in a deal that could be worth as much as $2 billion.
Santos has a 13.5 per cent stake in the PNG LNG project, which it owns alongside ExxonMobil (33.2 per cent and operator), Oil Search (29 per cent), National Petroleum Company of PNG (16.8 per cent), JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Company (4.7 per cent) and Mineral Resources Development Company (2.8 per cent).
The asset's strategic value was underscored by Woodside Petroleum's bid for Oil Search in September and Santos executive chairman Peter Coates has already called PNG LNG his company's "jewel in the crown". But Santos' stake would be worth less than Oil Search's because it does not own as much of the gas that would be used for an expansion.
That said, everything is on the table at Santos and there are plenty of balls in the air.
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