PNG Gas Figure Upbeat on Industry's Prospects
by The National website, Port Moresby BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific
May 23, 2007
InterOil Corp.'s top man revealed the company's plans to spend up
to 18 billion kina [approximately US$6 billion] on the Napa Napa liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Papua New Guinea. Chief executive Phil Mulacek also said his company was ready to export PNG gas to Asia and the US by 2012.
Mulacek made the disclosures yesterday to clarify reports about the company's petition to the government for exclusive rights to locally produce LNG.
"Nobody needs exclusive deals... what matters is the national
interest and the economic benefits to all stakeholders from this new
industry. Despite the huge investment, bigger by far than any
previous PNG resource development, InterOil is seeking no
exclusivity or economic benefit from the national government," Mulacek said.
He said PNG's reserves of gas are large enough to support several
LNG projects to earn for the country billions of kina in annual
"There should never be a question about PNG choosing between
[one] LNG project and another, given the quantity and quality of gas
available, and the example of neighboring gas provinces including
Indonesia, where there are multiple LNG projects."
"Clean PNG gas such as we have discovered at Elk is in sufficient
quantity to ensure the economic success of the LNG project we have
proposed to the government, without any negative impact on the
prospects of other gas fields in the country," Mulacek stressed.
ExxonMobil, Oil Search and Santos, owners of the Hides and
Kutubu gas resources, have recently put a plan to the government for
a large LNG project based at Hall Sound near Yule Island in Central
Province, while InterOil plans to process gas from the Elk field at
the site of its existing oil refinery at Napa Napa.
"The government doesn't have to make choices or take sides. Our
resources and our potential markets can support multiple LNG
projects. If there are genuine gas owners with development funds
available and a PNG-only interest, then the Government would be
congratulated for encouraging such projects to take off. Others
might then be spurred to follow," Mulacek said.
He also made note of the gloomy coincidences that included the
disbanding of the PNG Gas Project coordination office, former
Petroleum and Energy Minister Sir Moi Avei being sidelined following
tribunal inquiry into his electoral affairs and the government's new
entity Petromin being questioned by the Ombudsman Commission as
Mulacek said all these factors were at best an unhappy
coincidence, but to suggest that they masked some private deal-
making was untrue and damaging to PNG's prospects as a reliable
(C) 2007 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved
PNG LNG Project
ExxonMobil; Oil Search Limited; Santos; Nippon Oil Exploration; AGL; MRDC); Eda Oil
Port Moresby Papua New Guinea