YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI in BRISBANE
WITH the two million tonnes export deal of liquefied natural gas (LNG) under wraps, ExxonMobil has moved up the gears toward signing up more customers for the PNG LNG project.
And the country will know 27 days from today if ExxonMobil will proceed with the project. All indications point to the affirmative.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed,” one analyst said yesterday.
After signing up the preliminary sales deal (heads of agreement) with China’s Sinopec last week, ExxonMobil is now into exclusive talks with four other major LNG buyers in Asia for binding sales contracts to underpin the project.
The annual production capacity for the project is 6.6 million tonnes (mpty). The developer is now working around the clock to tie down clients for the remaining 4.6 million tonnes.
It is understood that some of the potential customers currently in discussion with ExxonMobil include Japan’s Tokyo Electric, Osaka Gas Ltd and Taiwan’s CPC Corp – all combined could easily take up the PNG gas in binding sales contracts.
ExxonMobil said last week it was in “exclusive talks” with four major Asian gas buyers and with the final investment decision expected on Dec 8 – just weeks away.
Sinopec said in a separate statement that the LNG from the ExxonMobil project would be supplied to its Qingdao receiving terminal which will be built in the Shandong province in China.
The deal, if finalised, will also be Sinopec’s first LNG purchase agreement which will support its ambitions to expand its share of the domestic gas market that is being dominated by another big gas company, PetroChina.