Papua New Guinea names LNG project share nominee

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Oct. 30 -- After several months deliberation, Papua New Guinea has put forward Independent Public Business Corp. (IPBC) as the state's nominee to manage the government's 19.4% stake in the $11 billion ExxonMobil Corp.-led Papua New Guinea LNG project.

IPBC was competing with fellow state-owned Petromin for the position.

Prime Minister Michael Somare said the government's ministerial economic committee and the National Executive Council had noted IPBC's progress to secure financing for the state's equity in the project without any sell-down of the government's stake.

In other words, he said, the state won't go into debt to finance its equity and won't need to provide state guarantees.

The equity funding arrangements are expected to be announced in the PNG Parliament in mid-November.

Somare added that the government is pleased with the manner in which ExxonMobil and its coventurers are driving the project, particularly in the uncertain global financial market climate.

He said the time is ripe for development of PNG's gas resources in view of the growing role of gas as a fuel of choice in global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and global warming.

IPBC also manages the government's 17.56% interest in Oil Search Ltd.

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