Green light for PNG LNG environmental plan

National, Normal

THE PNG LNG project moved a step closer to reality with the National Government approving its environment plan.
ExxonMobil Corporation, operator of the PNG LNG project, yesterday announced that the Department of Environment and Conservation had approved the project’s Environment Impact Statement (EIS), which defines how the project will manage and meet its environmental commitments.
The EIS contains assessments undertaken by environmental experts with years of experience working in Papua New Guinea, and information from the current oil field operations, resulting in the most detailed and definitive environmental assessment ever completed in PNG.
“We are pleased that the PNG LNG project has secured approval of its overall environment assessment by the State of PNG,” Peter Graham, managing director of Esso Highlands Limited, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, said.
“This is another important project milestone, as it allows the project team to secure final approval for the detailed environment management plans which will guide implementation of the construction works.”
A court injunction was taken out by landowners early this month halting the approval process, but this appears to have been set aside.
Esso Highlands said the PNG LNG project would continue to work with the Department of Environment and Conservation, other Government departments and its potential lenders to secure related environmental and social management plan approvals.
ExxonMobil, which owns 41.5 % of the project, and its joint venture partners, Oil Search (34 %), Santos (17.7 %) and
others, will make a final investment decision (FID) on the project by Dec 8.
Esso and the Department of Petroleum and Energy are yet to complete licence-based development forums in the Southern Highlands province.
The PNG Government is a partner in the project, and is expected to take up 19.4% equity in the US$17 billion project.
The green light for the EIS was expected as work on the project has been under way for months.
The PNG LNG project will include two processing trains containing 6.3 million tonnes a year from late 2013 or early 2014.