SHARON E BARNABAS
PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project developer ExxonMobil wants landowners and the Government to engage in constructive dialogues regarding distribution of benefits in the licence-based benefit sharing agreement (LBSSA) forums, according to an adviser.
The US$15 billion (K40 billion) LNG project remains on track to make a final investment decision next month which will represent agreement by the co-venturers to proceed with the project.
Senior public and government affairs adviser PNG LNG project Stuart Symons said: “These Government-led LBSSA forums are an important step in the petroleum licensing process.”
“We expect the landowners and the Government to engage in constructive dialogues regarding the distribution of benefits in these forums,” he added.
Mr Symons also clarified that the forums would be held concurrently in the eight sites and not one after the other.
When asked about the developer’s comments on the threats issued by landowners to sabotage the forums or take restraining orders, Mr Symons said: “It is not appropriate for them (developer) to comment.”
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil maintains Dec 8 remained the date for the final investment decision (FID), reports Bloomberg News.
“There is still an awful lot of work to do,” Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said in Sydney yesterday.
The December deadline did not leave enough time to complete a plan to sell a stake in the venture to Abu Dhabi’s energy investment arm, Oil Search said last month.
Oil Search raised A$895 million (K2.4 billion) selling shares at A$5.90 (K15) after scrapping the plan to sell the 3.5% stake to IPIC.
Estimated first-phase costs rose to US$15 billion (K40 billion) from a previous figure of US$12.5 billion (K33.42 billion), Oil Search said last month.
The company’s projected share of future costs was US$5 billion (K13.4 billion), of which US$1.3 billion (K3.4 billion) would be funded by equity, Mr Botten said recently.
Oil Search is in “very constructive” discussions with banks to negotiate financing for its share of the costs, Mr Botten said yesterday.
The company sees “no need” to raise further capital for the project, he said.
China Petroleum and Chemical Cor., also known as Sinopec, will buy two million metric tonnes of LNG a year from the project, Exxon said last Nov 4.
ExxonMobil and its partners are working with Sinopec to complete a binding, long-term sales agreement.