Gas projects will power Apec trade, says PM

Main Stories, National

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare told his Apec counterparts in Singapore at the weekend that the LNG projects in PNG will not only boost the economies of those participating, but also help meet their greenhouse gas emission targets.
He said the first LNG project (ExxonMobil-led project) was an example where investment from the private sector and governments within the Apec region had enabled PNG to pursue development of this clean energy resource.
Sir Michael said trade between PNG and the Apec economies that were participating in the first LNG project would be boosted to unprecedented levels, thus boosting global trade.
He said employment requirements generated by the LNG project could not be met from within PNG alone and, as a result, “we would be looking to other partners from the Apec region to provide the skilled workforce needed for this project”.
“Once into production, Papua New Guinea will be providing to partner Apec economies that have entered into off-take arrangements with us clean energy that would help offset binding targets we set ourselves on reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
He said the second LNG project (InterOil-led) was also being developed with investment from corporate citizens from the Apec member economies.
“Preliminary assessments of data from current drills suggest that the reserves in this new find are bigger and better than previous finds.
“PNG is prepared and ready to partner other Apec economies to further develop this second LNG project and deliver more clean energy to the global community.
“As well, it will assure the global community of more reliable energy supplies.
“I believe the development of the LNG sector in Papua New Guinea will not only underpin its own long term economic growth but serve as a stimulus to trade and economic activity within the Apec region,” he told the 17th Apec leaders’ summit.
With the global financial crisis the focus of attention, the Prime Minister agreed that the financial crisis had ebbed and many of Apec countries had managed to successfully weather the resulting global economic downturn, but the dangers were still there.
He said PNG was able to weather the global economic downturn because of prudent financial and economic management, political stability and use of budget surpluses from previous years to stimulate our economy.
Funding from these surpluses was pumped into major infrastructure and agriculture development projects “as part of our stimulus package”.
He said some of the surplus funds were used to retire domestic debt.
He said the economy was expected to record a growth rate of around 4.8% this year, with the Government targeting a growth rate of around 4% in the medium term.
Sir Michael said that in the last three years, employment grew by more than 7% each year, while public debt had been reduced from K8.3 billion in 2002 (70% of GDP) to K6.9 billion (32% of GDP) today.