Papua New Guinea (PNG) will pay around K3 billion (US$1.179 billion) in cash for its 19.4 per cent equity in the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has announced, reports The National.
Sir Michael told more than 300 guests at his surprise 40th anniversary in politics dinner at the Grand Palace restaurant last Saturday night that by next September, PNG would finalize the gas deal with ExxonMobil.
"We will, in fact, be paying cash for our equity. Not many countries that I know can do that, and I am in fact confident," he said.
Sir Michael also complimented the ministerial committee on gas for not being forceful but their understanding in dealing with multinationals to strike the gas deal.
"You have to have this balance. Give here take there and, when you know you balanced it, strike the deal," Sir Michael said.
I think that's what we have done and done it successfully.
The Prime Minister said negotiations were continuing and the Government would be making a big announcement by next September on the first LNG project, to be followed by a second similar project.
"Negotiations are going on and we would make a big announcement for the first LNG project; there is also a second LNG project in the pipeline," Sir Michael said.
He said this would provide a base for PNG to stand on in the next 50 to 60 years but the problem was lack of skilled manpower.
"We appeal to industries to train our people (to work these projects) because, by 2014, we would be looking for manpower.
"We may get 10,000 overseas people to come and help us initially, and that's the Governments stand at the moment."
Sir Michael said when his Government came into office in 2002, incentives were given to the petroleum and mining sector that prompted companies to flood in.
"Yes, we are rich and yet we are poor. I think we have to organize ourselves if we want to develop. We have to align ourselves with the international community," he said.
PNG is not a small boat; PNG is a big ship. It has allies with the rest of the world.
Sir Michael said PNG was also the leading star on climate change and the confidence in Papua New Guinea was now all over the world.
We can all make Papua New Guinea a great country, he said.
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