BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
THE Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), a big player in the global energy finance sector, has signed an understanding with the Papua New Guinea Government to support the development of the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project.
The signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) last Thursday evening at the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby signifies a vital step, for PNG, towards realising its aspirations in the LNG project.
For Japan, it is significant as PNG is very likely to be its next biggest source of liquefied natural gas.
“Japan firms may purchase about 50% of liquefied natural gas from the PNG LNG project and I think PNG is likely to be a new LNG supply source to Japan,” Kohei Nakanishi, the bank’s managing executive officer and board member, said.
JBIC has placed great emphasis on supporting new projects that will export LNG to Japan, and since its first project loan in 1986 to the Northwest Shelf LNG project in Western Australia, it has been an active backer of new LNG ventures globally.
The MoU now puts PNG on the list of JBIC beneficiaries and comes with just over a month left before developer ExxonMobil makes its final investment decision for its lucrative venture.
JBIC has financed many LNG and other natural resources projects worldwide with total outstanding loans totalling more than US$71 billion (K195.6 billion) and project loan guarantees worth US$16 billion (K44 billion).
“I am very pleased to have signed the memorandum of understanding
for financial and strategic relationships in terms of energy and natural resources,” Mr Nakanishi said.
“I was pleased to note that stakeholders, including the Government, developers and landowners are serious in the realisation of the project,” he added.
Prior to the signing, Mr Nakanishi and his team had visited several gas fields in the Southern Highlands province.
Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu said: “We are very glad that a powerful and highly influential institution like JBIC will help PNG to fund and develop our first LNG project.”
The MoU was signed by Mr Nakanishi for JBIC and Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare.