PNG stocks soar into 2010

THE new decade is off to a bullish start with most PNG-focused companies making gains as copper, gold and oil prices remain strong.

The London Metal Exchange official cash price for copper is steady at $US7594 a tonne, while the three-month delivery price shed 1.63% yesterday to $7610/t.

LME official cash prices for nickel shed 1% to $18,750/t, while the three-month price fell by the same amount to $18,850/t.

Singapore's Tapis crude closed at $US83.64 per barrel overnight, up 1.3% for 2010 so far but down slightly from the $84/bbl set midweek as encouraging industrial production figures helped push up the US dollar.

Spot gold is looking strong at $US1131.27 per ounce, falling a mere 0.67% in the last 24 hours.

Proving that the first week of the year in trading is often positive, stocks around the world have staged rallies, with PNG explorers and producers being no exception.

InterOil has grabbed more attention, with some reports suggesting it has struck a stripping plant deal with Mitsui though the company has not made any announcements.

Last month's world record gas flow at Antelope-2 of 705 million cubic feet of gas per day is impressive, and it also yielded 11,200 barrels of condensate per day.

Mitsui attended the gas flow and InterOil looks set to gain quick cash flow from the condensate, and even more if Antelope-2 uncovers an oil leg in the coming weeks.

The NYSE-listed company also landed a long-awaited project agreement with the PNG government before Christmas.

Shares in InterOil are up 7% for the week while the world waits for more news from Antelope-2.

Vangold Resources shares are up almost 90% following a stock split and further progress on its planned spin-off into separate Vanoil and Vangold listings, as well as its acquisitions in PNG.

Developments with PNG LNG have Oil Search shares safely over the $6 mark, while an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund waits for the price to reach $8.55 as part of a 2008 financing deal with the PNG government.

Highlands Pacific was a standout on both the Australian Securities Exchange and the Port Moresby Stock Exchange in the last week, and was undoubtedly one of the better performing stocks of 2009. Closing at 8.3c a year ago, it is now at 38.5c.

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