17 Apr 2008

PNG leader assures that work on huge gas pipeline about to start

7:23 pm on 17 April 2008

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, says his Government is committed to the huge project to pipe gas from the Southern Highlands to a terminal near Port Moresby.

The project, which last year supplanted plans to pipe the gas to Gladstone in North Queensland, is expected to cost around ten billion US dollars to complete.

The Prime Minister today told Parliament the engineering work for the project should start next month.

Our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon, says this statement came amid ongoing concern that the project would never get off the ground.

"But the Prime Minister, by making this statement, is assuring the nation, and the international community that this project is well and truly on. The Government is fully committed to it. The Government wants to make it happen and there is a Ministerial Committee on this gas development project. The intention is that the committee will monitor progress on the project and make sure it happens."

Oseah Philemon