InterOil assures its Gulf LNG project is on track | Pacific Beat

InterOil assures its Gulf LNG project is on track

InterOil assures its Gulf LNG project is on track

Updated 18 May 2012, 9:53 AEST

The developer of Papua New Guinea's second liquefied natural gas project says negotiations to secure a major partner and financier are nearly complete.

Canadian oil and gas company, InterOil gave the assurance amidst threats by the PNG government to terminate the project agreement.

InterOil is leading a consortium to develop gas reserves in the Gulf of Papua - with the first gas shipment expected by 2015.

Presenter: Firmin Nanol

Speakers: Kevin Byrne, InterOil's Corporate Affairs Manager, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill


The Petroleum and Energy Department Secretary Rendel Rimua has served a letter of intent to terminate the project agreement in 6 months time as of last week.
He says InterOil and its partners have to come up with a project as stipulated in the original agreement.
PNG's Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma has also publicly accused the company and its partners of deviating from the original Project Agreement by not bringing in a major developer and financier for the project.
He says InterOil may not have the capacity and is delaying it by not coming up with project plans.
PNG's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill says the government is prepared to review the original project agreement.
He says his Petroleum and Energy Minister, William Duma will make a submission for cabinet to consider.
O'NEILL: The Department of Petroleum and Energy is continiuing to monitor the gas agreement that the developer has signed with the government and of course, some aspects of that agreement is yet to be fulfilled by the developer. But the decision to either terminate that agreement or not is up to Cabinet after Cabinet deliberates on that matter. But I can assure you that it is in our interests and our country's interests that while we are moving towards the end of the construction of the first LNG, that it's very important that we maintain the growth of our economy. First LNG contributes about three percent of GDP to the growth of our economy. We must sustain that by making sure we allow the second LNG to progress to the development stage. So we are working closely with both the developer and the other stakeholders in that project and the NSC will be reviewing what has been proposed by the department. 
NANOL: But the developer of the Gulf LNG, InterOil says the project is on target.
Its Corporate Affairs Manager, Kevin Byrne says the partners are already talking to major financiers and a major developer to kick start the project.
He says there is an agreement already in place and it cannot be terminated.
BYRNE:  InterOil as a partner remains very positive and we're working towards submitting all the documentation in accordance with the Oil and Gas Act and in accordance with the Agreement. If the government or the deparment wishes to sit down and discuss that agreement, then we're obligated to sit down with them and we look forward to that. 
NANOL: The main issue or concern that the minister, William Dumas, raised a couple of months back - since last year - was that the projects proponents and partners are deviating from the original agreement.
BYRNE:  He has a view that there is some deviation in the project agreement and that revolves around introducing a major partner to the project to work alongside and with Liquid New Guinea Gas. Now, the process of acquiring that partner has been described to the department, it has been described to the minister and as I understand it, an announcement as to who that will be will be made public soon after a discussion with the department and the minister.
NANOL: The financiers - how is that going? The talks with the partners, looking at the major financier already?
BYRNE: That process is continuing and it's almost at finality. So that announcement will be made at the appropriate time and will be made shortly. 
NANOL: And are InterOil and its partners worried that it might be terminated if there's no agreement reached between all parties concerned?
BYRNE: Well there is an agreement in place now. That needs to be understood. There is an agreement that was signed on the 23rd of December 2009, and if there is to be amendments or changes or whatever to that agreement then that will take place under the processes outlined in the agreement. InterOil is confident of its position within its obligations under that agreement and we're confident that we have complied with those obligations. And we look forward really to an opportunity to sit down with the department in the spirit of co-operation and partnership, to work our way through the issues that the secretary or the minister might have. 
NANOL: InterOil Corporate Affairs Manager, Kevin Byrne.
PNG's second LNG, project is expected to come into production by 2015. The first LNG project led by ExxonMobil, which is already under construction, plans to have its first gas shipped by 2014. Firmin Nanol-Port Moresby.

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