UPDATE 2-Oil Search to raise $820 mln, scraps LNG stake sale

lunedì 19 ottobre 2009 06:52

* Ends talks to sell 3.5 pct of Papua New Guinea LNG project

* To now raise about $895 mln in equity

* Exxon-Mobil ups project cost estimate 15 pct to $15 bln

* New Oil Search shares being offered at A$5.90 each

* Shares halted for trading up to Wednesday (Recasts with company confirmation, adds analyst comments)

By Denny Thomas and Fayen Wong

SYDNEY/PERTH, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Australian-listed oil and gas producer Oil Search Ltd (OSH.AX: Quotazione) is raising up to about A$895 million ($820 million) after ending talks to sell a minority stake in a Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

Oil Search also said on Monday that project leader ExxonMobil (XOM.N: Quotazione) had raised its forecast of the cost of the project by about 15 percent to $15 billion, to reflect a bigger scope for the project and additional contingency measures.

Nick Raffan, chief research analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney said: "A lot of companies are taking advantage of the buoyant equities market to raise capital and the PNG LNG project is seen as a very profitable project in the long-term, so its understandable that they'd want to keep it to themselves."   Continua...