He said Papua New Guinea would improve its own energy security by using more of the gas for power generation.
O’Neill’s comments followed the decision by Total SA and partners on locations for plant site and central processing facility for Elk/Antelope Gulf gas field to be known as Papua LNG.
He said Papua New Guineans should benefit the most from the gas resources.
“We have to ensure that the people of Papua New Guinea have the opportunity to utilise our gas for domestic economic activity,” O’Neill said.
He said there would be a number of announcements made by the joint venture partners in the coming months as they continue to complete surveys and analysis on specific construction items.
“The next two years will see work underway that will include social mapping and land identification studies, societal impact assessments, and the finalisation of construction requirements,” O’Neill said. “The Government stands ready to move ahead with preparatory work, including ensuring regulatory requirements are met and processed, and environment studies are undertaken.
“There will be further clarification of arrangements between the project and the Government and the marketing of Papua LNG will be underway. “The gas from the Elk-Antelope field is high quality and despite current global energy prices, by the time Papua LNG reaches the market it is anticipated energy prices will have improved.
“Our proximity to the constantly growing Asian market places Papua LNG in a very strong competitive position,” O’Neill said.