He refuted claims that the PNG LNG operator ExxonMobil’s takeover of InterOil would leave the country with just one LNG project.
Sonk said Total’s proposed Papua LNG project would still be built even is Exxon expanded its 6.9 million tonne per year PNG LNG project with a third train. Kumul holds the Government’s 16.6 per cent stake in PNG LNG.
“Exxon has been in the country for a long time and knows the Government’s position – which is to have two super majors in the country developing two separate projects,” Sonk told Energy Intelligence on the sidelines of a world LNG series summit in Singapore last week.
“But if there are synergies to be explored in the meantime under current market conditions, we will explore them. That’s basically how we are driven.”
Sonk’s comment was in contrast to what Oil Search, another PNG LNG stakeholder, said, that it was “highly unlikely” that Total would still build the Greenfield Papua LNG.
Sonk said the Government had no legal right to block Exxon’s acquisition of InterOil but had a say in determining how projects were developed.
“Antelope7 will still be drilled,” he said.
He was referring to a well on Petroleum Retention License 15, the acreage earmarked to feed future LNG (liquefied natural gas) capacity. Total, which holds 40.1 per cent in PRL 15 alongside Oil Search on 22.8 percent, was planning to drill Antelope 7 this quarter, to be followed by reserve certification to help determine the capacity of Papua LNG and whether it features one big train or two smaller trains.
The French major had backed Oil Search’s $2.2 billion bid to buy InterOil, which has a 36.5 per cent stake in PRL 15, only for Exxon, to make a superior offer.
Exxon believes the best value proposition is for the PRL 15 resources to go through its existing facility. As gas from InterOil’s share in PRL 15 is now expected to feed the third train of PNG LNG, Sonk suggested Total might have to farm into nearby acreage to support future trains.