Somare Silences Critics

Former State Enterprise MinistersayPNG is capable of repaying LNG loan.


Five years on,thethen Minister for State Enterprises Arthur Somare has defendedthe government’s decision.


Former Minister for State Enterprises, Arthur Somare, was all smiles after Oil Search share prices hit a record high of $8.61 on Tuesday.


For Mr Somare, it meansthe decision he made in 2008 to securPNG LNG equity finance fromtheInternational PetroleumInvestment Company, through an exchangeable bond, will pay off handsomely for the benefit ofthe People of Papua New Guinea


The State had obtained a $1.68 billion dollar loan from IPIC, in exchange for its 14.6 per cent equity in Oil Search.


The agreed strike price of Oil Search shares was of $8.55 to be converted by March 2014.


With Oil Search shares performing within that range, Mr Somare now believesthe State can repaythe IPIC loan comfortable throughthe transfer of shares.


“To my great relief, as was predicted four years ago, that we would hit a strike rate of $8.55…on Tuesdaythe Oil Search shares hitthe high of $8.61 at around 2.30 pm which gives me great relief. So today,the implication behind that is very simple,there will not be any bullet payment required fromthe IPIC transaction,” said Somare.

A relieved Somare told EMTV’s Resource PNG program that he has provern himself against his critics.


He also added that what it means now for the average Papua New Guinea is that extra monies won’t be forked out ofthe government budget to repaythe IPIC loan.


He says doomsayers who had doubted that Oil Search’s share price would rise from 9 kina in 2008 to over 19 kina by 2014 should now realizetheir error.

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