Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek

THE Gulf LNG project in Papua New Guinea is targeting at least 7.6 million tonnes per annum of capacity and the PNG government is onside, InterOil chief executive officer Phil Mulacek confirms to PNGIndustryNews.net.
Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek Gulf LNG accelerated: Mulacek

PNG's Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma previously criticised the project for differing from the government agreement struck in late 2009 and for lacking a "world class operator".

The old 2009 plans to commercialise InterOil's Elk-Antelope discoveries in Gulf province were based on a 7.6-10.6MMtpa LNG plant near Port Moresby.

The rebadged Gulf LNG project aims to build an onshore modular LNG plant in Gulf province, along with an offshore floating LNG facility for a total of 5MMtpa in 2014.

Yet the Gulf LNG project also has an option to ramp up to 8MMtpa through 2015 and 2016 and after InterOil executives flew in to Port Moresby last week, it appears the PNG government wants the greater capacity.

"Duma confirmed we are working together with [him], the prime minister and the Department [of Petroleum and Energy] and see common ground and [we] will accelerate the LNG capacity to 7.6MMtpa through our efforts with the investment banks," Mulacek told PNGIndustryNews.net.

The investment banks concerned are likely to be Morgan Stanley, Macquarie Capital and UBSAGas, which are soliciting and evaluating proposals from suitable strategic partners to operate the project.

The move followed calls from Duma and state-owned Gulf LNG partner Petromin to bring in oil major Shell as the project operator.

With a third non-binding offtake agreement signed late last week, Mulacek said the Gulf LNG project would have 95% coverage on its first 4MMtpa, or 75% coverage on 5MMtpa.

"We have vast interest on the expansion capacity of 3.4 to 4MMtpa to bring the accelerated LNG capacity to 7.6MMtpa-plus," Mulacek said.

While Duma's past criticisms triggered some uncertainty over the level of PNG government support for the project, another issue of interest was whether the project would hit the final investment decision milestone in late 2011 as forecast.

"We will be ready before year end for FID," Mulacek said.

"The last piece will be the PNG government on timing.

"We are committed to working [with] the PNG government."

Further exploration of InterOil's licence areas is underway with the Triceratops-2 well expected to spud this month.

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