NEW GUINEA Energy (NGE) has bought a stake of less than 1 per cent in Karoon Gas Australia as it moves to diversify its asset base beyond Papua New Guinea.

In an announcement, NGE said it had invested $3.55 million in the company – representing about 18% of NGE’s net assets.

The company had earlier announced it would shift its focus to lower risk investments over the medium to long term following a strategic review.

“The investment is in line with NGE’s stated strategy of shifting away from investing in few, high cost, high risk activities to more attractive investment opportunities aimed at maximising returns for shareholders over the medium to long term,” the company said.

“The investment is also in line with the previously stated strategy of making strategic investments to take advantage of currently depressed oil and gas markets and also evolving the company’s activities outside of Papua New Guinea.”

NGE also announced plans to de-list from the Port Moresby Stock Exchange by 22 June, ending an association that started in mid-2008.

The company said the minimal trading of its shares on the exchange meant the administative costs of listing could not be justified. Its last day of trading on the exchange will be 22 June.

The company also spent $11,000 buying back and cancelling 591,034 shares, boasting a cash balance of roughly $19.5 million at the end of the March quarter.