Mr O’Neill told the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group in a recent interview that key projects led by the Total-InterOil joint venture will see the Elk-Antelope gas field developed, representing an "exciting" follow-on from the success of the LNG initiative.
"This project is even larger on paper than the first PNG LNG project and could provide the basis for a thriving petrochemical industry in the future as the country diversifies its economic base in the attempt to create new jobs for Papua New Guineans," he said.
The full interview with Mr O’Neill will appear in The Report: Papua New Guinea 2015, which is the group’s forthcoming publication on the country’s economic activity as well as investment opportunities.
Mr O’Neill acknowledged that independence and being "rapidly catapulted into modernity" brought challenges for PNG, led by the rising expectations of Papua New Guineans.
The challenges include the recent drop in global oil prices, but he said PNG as a nation has come a long way over the last four decades.
"Introducing universal education and health care, for example, sends a clear message about the government’s commitment to strengthening the physical and moral foundations of our country, as does rebuilding some of the infrastructures that have been in decline for so many years now," he said.
PNG is already beginning to benefit from the LNG project, with revenues now trickling into the system, the prime minister said. Post Courier
Although poor management in the past meant the country needed "at least five or six years" to focus on core polices to reach its millennium development goals, he said.