OIL Search Limited has received K2.26 billion as its first share of cash flow from the liquefied natural gas project, it has been revealed.
The amount ($US850 million) covers the period from May last year to this month - February, a company spokesperson says.
It could not be confirmed yesterday whether the Government had received its first LNG project revenue. Efforts to get a confirmation yesterday were not successful. When Parliament last Wednesday voted 82-0 to set up the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had said the Government was expecting the cash flow from the project to start flowing in from last Friday, February 20.
“Because of that, we see some urgency in the establishment of this particular Sovereign Wealth Fund,” he said.
Oil Search showed on its financial statement that it had received more than US$850 million (K2.26b) in the first project distribution.
“It is our share of cash flows from May (2014) to February (2015),” the spokesperson said.
On whether the company was expecting a similar amount, or higher, this year, the spokesperson said: “We will see a full year of production from the project. But cash flows will depend on oil prices, as our LNG price is related to the (world) oil price. Clearly if current low oil prices continue, it will negatively impact revenues.”
The Government has 10.1 per cent shareholding in Oil Search, while the National Superannuation Fund Limited has about six million shares in it.
The company says it has about 45,000 shareholders, of which around 10,000 are located in PNG.
Managing director Peter Botten announced this week that Oil Search was paying 44 per cent of last year’s core profit as dividends to shareholders.
The core profit for 2014 was $US482.8 million (K1.2b) – an increase of 135 per cent on 2013.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation yesterday that Oil Search was interested in getting the benefit streams from the PNG LNG project “distributed properly and evenly across the whole country”.