Save for later Print Download Share LinkedIn Twitter Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea has spoken favorably about the planned merger between Oil Search and Santos, while also saying the Pacific nation will be weighing whether the deal is in the national interest. "I strongly recognize that the merger of these two important license players in the market can deliver higher capacity and value to our projects," Marape said in a statement. "It brings a stronger combined balance sheet to the table. I also recognize that this proposed merger is a strong positive statement in terms of investor confidence in the operating environment," he added. However, because Oil Search's activities generate a significant portion of the country's GDP and provide jobs to thousands of its people, "any proposed merger must satisfy the national interest test," Marape said. Santos and Oil Search recently reached agreement on the terms of a merger but have pointed out that finalization of the deal is conditional on various factors, including the completion of due diligence studies by both companies, conclusion of a binding merger implementation agreement and necessary regulatory approvals (IOD Aug.2'21).