Papua New Guinea's massive 16 billion US dollar Liquefied Natural Gas project has been approved by ExxonMobil and its partners.
The historic signing in Port Moresby yesterday came after more than a year of negotiations between various stakeholders and about 10,000 landowners who control the site where the gas was found.
ExxonMobil Development Company Vice President, Jack Williams, said the project was a new chapter for PNG and ExxonMobil.
Papua New Guinea's Treasurer, Patrick Pruaitch, said the country now starts "a new era" with the project providing jobs, a new highway and a new airport along with education, health and training opportunities.
ExxonMobil has already sold 40 million tonnes of LNG over 20 years to China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, Sinopec and Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Construction of the project is to begin next year and the first gas is expected to be pumped by 2014.
The PNG-LNG project will develop gas fields in PNG's highlands and Western Province and transport the gas via pipeline to an LNG facility near Port Moresby for shipment overseas.