PETROLEUM and Energy Minister William Duma used full-page ads in today’s Papua New Guinea newspapers to object to an InterOil comment that the government had approved its proposed 3.8 million tonnes per annum Gulf LNG project.
Duma was concerned with a comment made by InterOil chief executive officer Phil Mulacek in the company’s 2012 financial and operating results.
“The recent approval of our 3.8mtpa LNG project in the Gulf Province by the National Executive Council of PNG paves the way to completing our LNG partnering process, including a sell down of our interest in the Elk and Antelope fields,” Mulacek said.
Duma stressed that the NEC only provided conditional approval for InterOil to develop half of the Elk-Antelope gas resources.
The main condition is that the upstream and midstream aspects are operated by an “internationally recognised operator”, which echoes Duma’s previous criticisms against InterOil for straying from the existing 2009 project agreement.
InterOil remains in the process of finding a suitable world class LNG operator with at least two supermajors involved in bids for a Gulf LNG operating stake according to the InterOil chief financial officer Collin Visaggio.
Duma is leading the NEC’s Ministerial Gas Committee over a possible government move to by an additional 27.5% stake of Elk-Antelope to gain a half stake in its saleable gas.