The National, Monday 17th June 2013
PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has welcomed a proposal by a Japanese group to invest US$1 billion (K2.1 billion) in a petrochemical plant in PNG.
O’Neill and Minister for Trade, Commerce, and Industry Richard Maru last Friday met with senior executives of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co (MGCC) and Itochu Corporation to discuss the proposal.
The plant will develop industrial chemicals – methanol and dimethyl ether (DME).
“Under the new investment proposal MGCC and Itochu will invest US$1 billion to develop the project,” O’Neill said.
He said this would be the biggest investment by any Japanese corporation in the country and will create close to 5,000 jobs for the nationals during the construction period and production life of the plant.
O’Neill welcomed the investors and assured the seven executives that the government would allocate a portion of the Konebada petroleum park for the project
He also assured them that the government will provide the gas reserves (1.2 tcf) needed for the project.
“My Government is committed to supporting industries that add value to our natural gas reserves, which is good for the country,” O’Neill said.
He said PNG has enough gas not only to export, but to use for downstream processing in the country, such as the petrochemical industry being proposed by the Japanese group.
“This will create employment for our people, grow our economy and provide spin off business opportunities for our local companies.
“This is what I want to see happen in our country,” O’Neill said.
“I’ve already been made it clear to our partners such as InterOil and ExxonMobil that part of our natural gas and oil must be used for the development of DME/methanol and power supply.”
The prime minister thanked the MGCC and Itochu Corporation for their keen interest to invest here.
“This is a vote of confidence in PNG … but we must not take this for granted … as a government, we will do all we can to continue this stable political climate and create a conducive environment for more investment opportunities.”