O'Neill welcomes PNG's new K41billion LNG project agreement

 Former PNG prime ministera nd IALIBU-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill has welcomed the signing of the K41.38 billion Papua LNG Project after what he claims to be “an unnecessary delay of two years” by the Government.

He was commenting on the fiscal stability agreement signed on Tuesday by French operator Total, joint venture partners ExxonMobil and Oil Search, and the Government.

O’Neill, who was the prime minister when the gas agreement was signed in April 2019 said in a statement yesterday: “There are no significant changes to the terms agreed by the last government with the project development partners but only cosmetic changes aimed at justifying their decision to renegotiate which has caused huge damage to our economy.

“The decline in the economy, loss of thousands of jobs, closure of many businesses across the country and lack of investor confidence with zero foreign direct investment is now proven to be unnecessary.

“The damage done will take years to recover.

“Our people need to know that this signing will not immediately lead to a sudden increase in business activity in the economy.

“It will be a long process over many years with many stages to go from Pre-Feed to Feed (free-end engineering design) where the project needs to redesigned to the final investment decision (FID).”

He said it would very much depend on the cost of construction to securing customers through sales agreements and financing with many global financial institutions which would take years.

“We know this from our first LNG project,” he said.

“But instead of using experience, we played politics.

“As a result, we have missed opportunities in the global LNG market. I agree with the developer Total that this is going to be a long journey.”

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