He said the decision should be respected. He explained in Parliament why Total and its partners were piping the liquefied natural gas from the Elk-Antelope fields in Gulf to Caution Bay outside Port Moresby in reply to a question from Kikori MP Mark Maipakai.
O’Neill said the Elk-Antelope project had been on the drawing board for several years, ever since InterOil said it would develop the project.
“Any sensible government will support a developer that is willing to invest in our country, particularly in a province that desires and wants to host such a development,” he said.
“When I visited the Gulf province, I merely reiterated the commitment by the then operator of that oil and gas fields.
“Recently, the operatorship has been transferred from InterOil to Total, a France-based company that is now the operator of those fields and a developer which wants to invest in the development of those gas reserves. As the Government, it is our responsibility to try and encourage investors to come and invest in this very highly competitive sector.
“Total has made a commercial decision (and) I have welcomed their decision to invest in the Elk-Antelope project in the Gulf province. The decision to host where the processing plant should be is a commercial decision the partners of that project will make.”