“How can people in this country have confidence in the negotiation process for the nation’s second LNG project when the Prime Minister does not seem to be aware of the actual size of this venture."

Opposition Leader Patrick Pruaitch said today it was disappointing that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Kumul Petroleum Managing Director Wapu Sonk made misleading statements at the PNG Petroleum Summit.

Both national daily newspapers quoted Mr O’Neill as telling conference delegates in his keynote opening address that the Papua LNG Project “would produce close to 2.7 million metric tonnes per annum” when the actual figure is twice that amount.

Mr Pruaitch said:“How can people in this country have confidence in the negotiation process for the nation’s second LNG project when the Prime Minister does not seem to be aware of the actual size of this venture.

“There have been hundreds of mentions in the media and elsewhere that the Papua LNG Project will consist of two LNG trains, each of which will produce 2.7 million tonnes annually.”

Mr Sonk, who will be responsible for the government’s 22.5% equity in Papua LNG, appeared to be even more ill-informed.

The Post Courier,in its story on Jan. 20 titled “Take opportunity to attract new investors: Sonk” (pg 28) had the following direct quote attributed to Mr Sonk regarding the Papua LNG Project and P'yang expansion:

“Together they are proposing to increase the production of LNG by 180 million tons per annum doubling current production over 60 million tonnes per annum, placing PNG in the top 10 producing countries in the world.”


Mr Pruaitch said this was utter nonsense from the man who now has overall responsibility for the government’s 19.6% equity stake in the PNG LNG Project.

“Mr Sonk statement suggests he is incapable of handling Grade 6 mathematics because for him when you double 60 million tonnes you get 180 million tonnes.

“How can he not know that the PNG LNG Project, in which Kumul Petroleum is the third biggest equity holder, this year will export approximately nine million tonnes of LNG and not the fictitious numbers he alludes to.

“Total world LNG production last year was estimated at 293 million tonnes and by far the biggest exporter was Qatar with production of over 77 million tonnes.”

Mr Pruaitch said dissemination of this misinformation at the country’s premier national petroleum conference, which was funded by Kumul Petroleum, was truly disturbing.

Unfortunately,people attending the conference would also have seen a full-page newspaper advertorial by the Chief Secretary, Mr Isaac Lupari, which added to the confusion.

In his advertorial,Mr Lupari talks about the need for early revenue from the Papua LNG Project so the government does not need to fund landowner and provincial government benefits before revenue flows from the project.

“It is common knowledge,” Mr Pruaitch said, that there will be no revenue coming from Papua LNG until the project commences export operations by around 2024.

“According to the Prime Minister and Mr Sonk by the time exports start, the joint venture would have spent K44 billion constructing the LNG production facilities.

“Mr Lupari now suggests landowners and provincial governments cannot receive direct benefits during this construction phase when major disruptions will displace and affect thousands of villagers throughout the project impact area.

“Revenue will only start to flow after completion of construction and the export of LNG tooverseas buyers while the greatest investment and impact would have occurred during the construction phase, as we have seen with the PNG LNG Project.”

Picture sourced: gepezz.info

September 24, 2019