Esso Highlands to name contract awardees today

National, Normal

ESSO Highlands Ltd, operator of the PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will today announce the contracts for the construction of the project, managing director Peter Graham revealed yesterday.
“We will award the major contracts to the contractors who will build the project.
“Those contractors will start mobilising early in 2010 with their equipment and workers to start the construction,” he said.
This was after Jack Williams, vice-president established areas, ExxonMobil Development Company, announced the project approval reached by project partners at Parliament House in Port Moresby.
The construction phase of the project is four years with the plant at Portion 152 within the Motu-Koitabu area in Central province, and the 700km pipeline from Southern Highlands province through to Western and Gulf provinces including other infrastructure, will start next year.
One happy person towards the approval was Dairi Vele, head of the Government’s PNG Gas Office.
“We think it has set a new benchmark in terms of the structure of benefits and we hope that all other projects that come along, other governments put the same kind of structure in relation to benefits as well,” Mr Vele said.
While reflecting on PNG’s benefit from the project, he said PNG would benefit from about US$30 billion (K80  billion) over a 26 to 35-year period.
On tax he said: “Unlike other tax holidays, this project does not have a tax holiday, so they will pay tax on day one.
“We will be seeing tax flows by 2017 or 2018, depending on gas prices that everyone is trying to secure here and in terms of equity dividends from the project, I think we (PNG Government) and landowners will be seeing something very, very early,” he said.
Mr Vele also said the PNG Gas Office would continue to support project developers and important stakeholders during the four-year construction phase.