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Thursday, February 6, 2014

PNG to retain Oil Search stake; to pay off A$1.68 billion bond -source, (NYSE: TOT)

Papua New Guinea has decided to raise A$1.68 billion ($1.48 billion) to pay off a bond it issued to Abu Dhabi in 2009 instead of giving up a strategic stake in oil and gas producer Oil Search, a source familiar with the decision told Reuters on Thursday.The move could be the first step towards bringing Oil Search into play, with potential suitors now needing to court only the PNG government to gain a foothold in the A$11-billion company.Global oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Total SA , and Australia's Woodside Petroleum are said to be among companies eyeing Oil Search.Oil Search is considered a juicy target as it owns a 29 percent stake in the $19 billion PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which is on track to start shipping the supercooled gas in the second half of 2014.

Total SA is a France-based integrated international oil and gas company. Shares of TOT traded higher by 0.28% or $0.16/share to $56.75. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $45.93 and as high as $62.45. On average, 971673 shares of TOT exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 920794.