DISCUSSIONS on benefits that would be generated from the proposed second liquefied natural gas (LNG) project are yet to start.
Unless and until a project agreement was in place and a petroleum development licence (PDL) was issued, such discussions could not take place, project developer InterOil for its proposed Elk-Antelope LNG project in Wabo, Gulf province, said.
This was made known to about 15 of the 17 Gulf provincial local level government presidents and other leaders recently during an audience with InterOil led by company director Christian Vinson at the Napa Napa refinery near Port Moresby.
The absence of the project agreement has also reportedly delayed the front-end engineering and design (FEED) work by 21 months since January last year, according to Liquid Niugini Gas Ltd (LNGL), a company which will specialise mainly in buying dry gas from InterOil.
InterOil holds 45% interest in LNGL.
Most of the presidents and LLG representatives raised concerns of how the local people would benefit from the proposed project once it got underway, and what would be offered as benefits for the communities hosting the project and the nearby areas.
“We need to get the project agreement and the licence to proceed and then, we can talk about who benefits and who will not.
“Right now, we have nothing to work with … we need to get the Government to realise that two projects are better than one,” Mr Vinson said.
InterOil and LNGL had a meeting with LLG presidents to brief them on InterOil’s preparations towards the proposed LNG project and while waiting for the project agreement and PDL.
InterOil’s manager for community affairs (corporate) Geoff Hiatt updated the presidents on the progress of the preliminary social mapping and landowner identification process, both for the proposed project and the fields, and the liquid project.
“We are clear about who among the people are landowners in these blocks,” he said.
Mr Hiatt said the preliminary studies done included Wailala and Purari in Gulf province, and Fisherman Island (an island close to the proposed plant to be built on Napa Napa across from InterOil’s existing oil refinery).
InterOil holds three petroleum prospecting licences (PPL) 236 (in Central province), 237, and 238 (discovery area at Elk-Antelope which overlaps into 237).
InterOil would initially develop the Elk-Antelope gas field by the drilling of enough production wells, currently estimated at between six and 12, to supply about 650-900 million metric cubic feet of gas per day (mmcfgpd) as feedstock for a single train of 3.5mtpa to 5mtpa LNG plant.
The production wells would be connected by a gas gathering system and delivery pipeline to separation and drying facilities to be located on the northern bank of Purari River, about 20km south of the gas field.