PNG Prime Minister Peter visited the new LNG site at Antelope 5 Wellhead in Gulf Province on Monday as part of ongoing preparations to open the next LNG project in Papua New Guinea.
During his visit to the site in the hinterland of Kikori, the Prime Minister also witnessed the first flaring of gas at the Antelope Wellhead 5. At the conclusion of a briefing on the project, which will be operated by French company Total, the Prime Minister said he was encouraged by the progress being made on the Elk-Antelope LNG development and extends the Government's full support.
"This multi-billion-dollar project is expected to employ more than 10,000 people during construction," PM O'Neill said.
"We envisage that the Elk-Antelope field has gas for at least two production trains, which would double Papua New Guinea's current LNG output.
"I thank Total for being the major operator of this project and for its commitment to work and live with our people in the process of developing this resource for us.
"Total is increasing staff numbers in Papua New Guinea to join people already working on the project around the world.
"We know that our joint venture partners will continue to work closely with the government in ensuring our citizens have the maximum possible opportunity in benefiting from the resource that will be developed in the near future.
"Our government looks forward to engaging with major stakeholders and we can assure you that we have the same commitment that we gave during the first project."
The Prime Minister said the first export of LNG to come from the project is still some years away, but the activity associated with the construction phase will continue to increase.
"We expect the first stage of front-end engineering and design to begin later this year.
"Following this, early work on the project will begin in 2016 with first construction contracts to be awarded in 2017 and first production in the early 2020s.
"As we move forward we expect the joint venture to discuss the preferred site for an LNG plant later in the year.
"The progress being made in the advancement of this project is very good news for people in the Gulf region, and very good for all Papua New Guineans."
PM O'Neill was accompanied by Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban, InterOil Chief Executive, Dr Michael Hession, Total Managing Director in Papua New Guinea Philippe Blanchard, and Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten.