James Marape is unsure about the benefits locals will see from the multi-billion-dollar project. File photo/ AFP
Australian firm Oil Search on Tuesday accused Papua New Guinea of backtracking on a deal to build a new liquefied natural gas project and set an August 31 deadline to resolve the dispute.
The firm is working in partnership with France’s Total and US-based ExxonMobil on the US$13 billion site that would roughly double Papua New Guinea’s exports of the fuel.
The deal was signed in April, but since coming to office in May PNG’s Prime Minister James Marape has raised concerns that locals will not receive enough benefit from the project.
“While initially indicating that the government had decided, in principle, to stand behind the agreement, more recently it has signalled its desire to renegotiate some of the agreed terms,” Oil Search said in a profit statement.
Stressing that the agreement was “legally binding” and “fair and balanced”, the firm said the “joint venture is seeking resolution by the end of August.”
That is when front end engineering contract bids expire, the company added.
Although Papua New Guinea’s government is desperate to increase revenue and help develop one of the poorest countries in the Pacific, the new LNG project remains politically contentious.
A forecast windfall from an earlier multibillion-dollar LNG project — which also involves Oil Search and Exxon — has been much smaller than expected.
Researchers estimate the project created fewer than 1,500 post-construction jobs for Papua New Guineans and a fall in energy prices saw revenues dry up.
Papua New Guinea’s finance minister resigned on Thursday, days after the country signed a multi-billion dollar gas contract with energy majors Total and ExxonMobil.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill stalled his announced resignation and took legal action to prevent a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, deepening the country’s political crisis.
Italian oil major Eni, China’s overseas energy unit PetroChina and two trading houses are vying to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Pakistan in one of the largest tenders ever worth billions of dollars, two sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The Cabinet approved the cancellation of the decision regarding the validity of residency visas for expatriates, who are in or outside the country and if their visas expired between March 1 and 31, 2020.
The meeting also discussed the successful efforts exerted by the country to fight COVID-19 pandemic and ways to limit its impact and repercussions in all fields.
Hope will take seven months to travel the 493 million kilometres to Mars, in time to mark the 50th anniversary of the emirates' union in 2021.