PNG Prime Minister O’Neill slams report on LNG

At US$27 a barrel, Papua New Guinea is virtually giving LNG away for free, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the Australia PNG Business Forum underway in Brisbane, Australia, this week.
Mr O’Neill said this while slamming Jubilee Australia Centre’s new report- ‘Double or Nothing: The Broken Economic Promises of PNG LNG’ as “utter nonsense”.
Mr O’Neill told the forum it was unrealistic to suggest that the LNG project is not contributing to the economy of PNG when LNG price had slumped from US$110 to US$27.
“No one could have foreseen that the price of oil would collapse to $US27 per barrel, and nobody expects the project to make money at those low prices.
“You are virtually giving LNG away for free,” Mr O’Neill said.
“It is disappointing when so-called economists, who are aligned with political groups, continue to try and talk-down the economy and release fake news.
“From one particular commentator recently, I quote what they said: on almost every measure of economic welfare in 2016, PNG would have been better off without the PNG LNG project.
“It has made a massive contribution to our economy to jobs and community development.
“More than ten thousand jobs were created, 19 billion dollars invested in our economy and the economy grew per cent per annum in the construction phase of the project.
“Such growth can never be achieved without the investment that is creating jobs for our people, creating revenue for our economy and making sure that our economy continues to grow,” Mr O’Neill said.
He said many at the forum are aware of these facts and are at the next negotiations to develop the Papua LNG project.
Mr O’Neill said PNG and ExxonMobil had delivered PNG’s first LNG project on time and within budget and this demonstrated PNG’s capability to deliver massive projects and US$19b was raised at the back of the Global Financial Crisis.
“We are one of the lowest cost LNG-producers globally and we have cemented our reputation as a place where big business can operate with good results.

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