PNG LNG submits EIS, gathers public input

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Jan. 28 -- The ExxonMobil Corp.-led PNG LNG project group has taken another step towards development with the submission this week of its environmental impact statement to Papua New Guinea's Department of Environment and Conservation.

The 6,000-page tome draws on 26 supporting studies that took just over 18 months to complete. Planning began in April 2007 while field studies and data collection were carried out between November 2007 and July 2008.

The consortium also conducted two public consultation road shows in 2007-08 that each visited 35 villages throughout the proposed 700-km pipeline and infrastructure imprint.

The project venture's manager Peter Graham says the intention is to mitigate impacts on the environment and on affected communities by planning, building, and operating according to good industry practice as well as adhering to applicable government requirements and international environmental standards.

Following receipt and initial review of the document, the department will conduct a further public consultation road show in the next few months to canvas community feedback. Public release of the EIS is expected next month.

The PNG LNG Project involves construction of a two-train, 6.23 million tonne/year liquefaction plant near Port Moresby, with gas sourced from several fields in the southern highlands.

Interest holders are ExxonMobil with 41.6%, Oil Search 34.1%, Santos 17.7%, and Nippon Oil 4.5%. Landowner interests hold the remaining interests.

PNG's state-owned Independent Public Business Corp. is using its 17.56% holding in Oil Search to raise $1.68 million (Aus.) to fund the government's 19.4% of the project which, once applied, will reduce the interest held by the other partners.

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