16 Jun 2009

PNG's Oil Search says partners have agreed to start early work activities

11:19 am on 16 June 2009

The Papua New Guinea petroleum exploration company, Oil Search, says the partners in the giant liquid national gas project have agreed to commence early work activities.

The key partner in the more than ten billion US dollar project, ExxonMobil, proposed earlier this month that work start to prepare for the pumping of the gas from Southern Highlands to the coast of Gulf province.

Oil Search says the early works activities will include the upgrade and repair of roads, construction of camps, wharf upgrades, early site preparation, the building of training facilities and the ordering of long lead items.

It wants this infrastructure in place so full construction can commence early next year, following the final investment decision, which is expected later this year.

The company says that the early works decision has been made possible by the recent signing of the Umbrella Benefits Sharing Agreement and substantial progress made in marketing the gas.

The Umbrella deal defines how benefits will be shared between the PNG Government, Provincial Governments, project area landowners and Local Level Governments.