PNG LNG, a joint venture (JV) of four oil and gas majors, has marked its 100th shipment with LNG tanker Methane Spirit en route through the Singapore Strait 16 June for Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc (TEPCO).
TEPCO was also the same customer that received the project’s first LNG shipment in May 2014.
More than 7 million tonnes of LNG have been exported out of Papua New Guinea’s Port Moresby since shipments began in May 2014.
Oil Search, the second-largest stakeholder in the ExxonMobil-operated JV remains unshaken by falling oil and gas prices.
“We’re looking at reducing costs 20% over the next 12 months,” CEO Peter Botten said in a recent broadcast, noting the project has a 30-year lifespan.
“LNG has more than doubled the GDP of Papua New Guinea and quadrupled our production base,” he said. “Since export operations began, an LNG carrier has been loaded on average every three to four days, with continuous operation excellence.”
But all is not well along the 700 km of pipeline linking the port. Traditional landowners last week made headlines in the local press after protesting government failure to provide landowners as custodians of the USD19 billion project their equity and royalty payments.
PNG LNG has been operating without dispute in the security-volatile Pacific nation since construction phase in 2010 when angry communities confronted the company over a land dispute. A royalty, equities, infrastructure, training, and employment scheme brought peace, but government delays with passing on the royalties have caused frustrations to resurface.
In Lihir, New Ireland Province, 900 km northeast of Port Moresby, locals shut down the Newcrest gold mine earlier this month, laying ginger plants on the factory floor to single a dispute. Among their grievances was that the company overlooked local shipowners and awarded a shipping contract to an international company earlier this year.
Newcrest did not return a request for further information. However, Papua New Guinea Police told IHS Maritime that the matter had since been resolved and shipping had resumed out of the mine.
By way of a statement, Newcrest said it had agreed to an audit process “including a review of current commercial engagement process and benefits” with landowner commercial activity.