But the Papua New Guinea-focused company has denied any knowledge of a takeover bid in response to a query by the Australian Stock Exchange, after its shares leaped 7% to $A3.57 this morning.
In addition, about 21.6 million shares or 2% of its stock changed hands – about four times the daily average.
According to Market Watch, potential takeover predators have been named by traders as BHP Billiton, British Gas and BP.
Last year, British Gas signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate using some of Oil Search’s gas resource to underpin a liquefied natural gas development in PNG.
Growing doubts over the viability of the PNG pipeline have seen Oil Search’s shares drop from about $4.64 last year.
“The company has for some time been touted as a prime takeover target and many analysts now believe the stock is cheap, especially if Oil Search can fast-track its LNG plans to take advantage of the strong market conditions,” Market Watch said.
But any potential buyer would have to contend with the PNG Government, which holds a 17.6% stake in the company.