THE BUYER of Cue Energy Resources’ Papua New Guinean onshore exploration and production portfolio has been revealed as the National Petroleum Company of PNG (NPCP), which paid US$7 million for the asset stakes.

The acquisition is the first for the government-owned NPCP outside of its interest in the PNG LNG assets, and includes a 5.5 per cent stake in the oil producing South East Gobe licence (PDL 3), operated by Santos, and a 3.29% interest in the South East Gobe Unit – a component of the field.

The other assets in the portfolio were stakes in retention licences that NPCP said contained between 700 billion and 800 billion cubic feet of gas.

Oil Search is the operator of both retention licences, with NPCP acquiring a 14.9% stake in PRL 9 and a 10.9% stake in PRL 15 – both within the PNG LNG gas pipeline route – particularly the Kopi tie-in point, NPCP said.

In an announcement, Cue said the US$7 million sale price “substantially” exceeded the book value of the assets, and would enable it to re-allocate capital to other opportunities in Indonesia.

NPCP Managing Director Wapu Sonk said NPCP was focused on developing opportunities within the hydrocarbon sector, saying there were several options available for the monetisation of gas from the project for power generation, export and petrochemical activities.

“Several of NPCP’s key strategies will be achieved with this acquisition and our shareholder the State, and our important stakeholders the people of Papua New Guinea, will realise value from this acquisition and the company’s overall growth in the near term,” he said.