Tag Archives: P’nyang gas field

PNG to seek more from Exxon on P’nyang deal than Total’s Papua LNG

“It has to be better. It has to be far better. That’s the key point.”

Jessica Jaganathan and Sonali Paul | Reuters | September 25, 2019

Papua New Guinea will press Exxon Mobil Corp for “far better” terms on its P’nyang gas project than the government secured in a recent agreement with Total SA for its Papua LNG project, the country’s petroleum minister said.

The P’nyang field will help feed an expansion of Exxon’s PNG LNG plant. If negotiations for the project are protracted, that could delay Exxon’s $13 billion plan with Total’s Papua LNG to double the country’s liquefied natural gas exports by 2024.

Talks on P’nyang were put on hold earlier this year when the government sought to revise Total’s Papua LNG agreement. That deal was finally endorsed in early September, with minor concessions from Total.

Formal talks on the P’nyang project have yet to begin, with the government waiting for information from Exxon, PNG Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua told Reuters on the sidelines of the annual LNG Producer-Consumer conference in Tokyo.

Asked whether the government would seek the same terms from Exxon on the P’nyang project as it secured from Total, Kua said: “It has to be better. It has to be far better. That’s the key point.”

Exxon Mobil, which is also a partner in the Papua LNG project, said it is looking forward to working with the PNG government to conclude the gas agreement for the P’nyang project ahead of decisions on design work for the addition of three new processing units, called trains, at PNG LNG.

“The verification of the gas agreement for the Papua LNG project confirms the commitment of all parties to make the project a success and provide value for all stakeholders,” an Exxon Mobil spokeswoman said in emailed response to Reuters when asked to comment on Kua’s remarks.

The push to extract more benefits from the P’nyang project is part of a wider effort by PNG’s new government to reap more rewards from the country’s mineral and petroleum resources to lift the country out of poverty.

Kua said the government would begin working with foreign investors next year to review natural resource extraction laws, which mostly stem from before PNG won independence in 1975.

The country is already in the process of revising its Mining Act, and next year will look to update its petroleum legislation to match regulations in other nations that produce LNG.

“In early 2020 the government will look at such changes in our regulatory set-up in close consultation with our development partners,” Kua said at the conference.

“This consultation is necessary to ensure Papua New Guinea is walking forward in lock-step with its investors,” he said.

“Whilst attracting FDI (foreign direct investment) in the oil and gas sector, reaping and sharing the rewards involving this valuable resource must be equitable to our development partners, investors, and the host government and its people.”

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Papua New Guinea sends team to Singapore to renegotiate Total LNG deal

Sonali Paul | Reuters | 15 August 2019

Papua New Guinea has sent a team to Singapore to renegotiate its Papua LNG agreement with French oil major Total SA, the nation’s petroleum minister said in a statement on Thursday, warning the talks could end “disastrously” for the gas project.

The strong language from minister Kerenga Kua marked an about-turn from a statement 10 days earlier, when he announced the new government would stand by the gas deal agreed by the previous government with Total in April, with some minor changes.

The state negotiating team, which includes Kua, left on Thursday for Singapore and will return early next week, the minister said in a statement released by his office.

“The negotiations could work out well or even disastrously,” he said.

Papua LNG, a joint venture between Total, Exxon Mobil Corp and Australia’s Oil Search Ltd, is part of a $13 billion plan set to double the country’s exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The Papua LNG gas agreement, key to the project going ahead, came under review when Prime Minister James Marape came to power in May promising to reap more benefits for the impoverished nation from its huge oil, gas and mineral resources.

“Success in the discussions could lead to an early progress of the project. By the same token failure could have very serious ramifications,” Kua said.

“This is a risk we take as we try to move in the direction of taking PNG back and making it wealthy.”

Total declined to comment ahead of the talks, but its Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne said on July 25 that he expected the government to respect the gas agreement.

Oil Search said on Thursday it looked forward to “further clarity on the state’s position” on the agreement and ways to advance the project.

The government has said it wants to sort out Papua LNG before resuming talks on another gas deal, governing the Exxon-led P’nyang field, which will also feed the $13 billion expansion of LNG exports.

Oil Search is a partner in both Papua LNG and P’nyang.

The renewed uncertainty around the status of the Papua LNG agreement and potential for further delays on the P’nyang deal knocked Oil Search’s shares down 6.7% on Thursday.

“We remain of the view that we can’t rule out a tougher approach to the Papua gas agreement being taken by the new government, which would present risk of material delay,” Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said in a note.

Analysts have warned that delays on sealing the agreements and any changes to terms could see the gas projects put on the backburner as Total and Exxon may then look to pursue other LNG projects elsewhere in their global portfolios.

Exxon Mobil in PNG was not immediately available for comment.

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Political disarray in Papua New Guinea rocks Oil Search shares

Tom Westbrook and Sonali Paul | Reuters | May 27 2019

Political turmoil in Papua New Guinea threatened to delay a $13 billion plan to double the country’s gas exports, sending shares in one of the project’s partners, Oil Search Ltd, down nearly 4% on Monday.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Sunday he would resign after weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party. Sir Julius Chan, twice a former premier, would take over as the government’s leader, O’Neill said.

Political instability is not unusual in Papua New Guinea and has not held back mining and energy investments in the resource-rich country, however protests over benefits failing to reach rural areas have dogged the government and project owners.

It was not clear whether Chan could command a majority in parliament when it resumes on Tuesday.

“We will not choose him. It’s a really bad choice,” opposition lawmaker Allan Bird told Reuters in a text message.

“We want a complete break from O’Neill (and) Chan is just a proxy for O’Neill,” he said.

Chan said on Monday he had been approached by both the government and the opposition to take the role.

“This is not a position I am seeking,” he said in a statement. “However, I love Papua New Guinea, and there is a desperate need right now to unite the country … and to make the wealth of this country work to the benefit of the people of this country.”

O’Neill had resisted calls to resign for weeks but his opponents said on Friday they had rallied enough support in parliament to oust him over a range of grievances, including a gas deal agreed in April with France’s Total SA.

The deal with Total set the terms for developing the Elk and Antelope gas fields, which will feed two new liquefied natural gas (LNG) production units at the PNG LNG plant, run by ExxonMobil Corp.

At the same time, ExxonMobil and its partners are planning to build a third new unit at the PNG plant, to be partly fed by another new gas field, P’nyang.

Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said the political upheaval could put pressure on the government to negotiate tough terms for the P’nyang gas agreement, which is yet to be finalised, and affect talks on development costs.

“Both these factors heighten the risk of delay,” he said in a note to clients.

Any delays in the P’nyang agreement could hold up a final investment decision on the PNG LNG expansion, which is set to double the plant’s capacity to 16 million tonnes a year.

The uncertainty sent shares in Oil Search, a partner in PNG LNG and Papua LNG, down as much as 3.9% in early trading on Monday. Energy stocks rose 0.6%.

ExxonMobil and its partners had hoped to begin basic engineering planning for the expansion by mid-2019 and make a final investment decision in 2020.

They are racing against projects in Mozambique, Qatar, North America and Australia to produce LNG from the expansion by 2024 to fill an expected gap in the global LNG market. ExxonMobil and Total both have LNG projects elsewhere that could take priority if PNG politics delays them, Kavonic said.

RBC analyst Ben Wilson said he did not think a final investment decision in 2020 was at risk yet and played down the threat that the PNG opposition would seek to renegotiate the LNG agreement.

“Sanctity of contract is critical to ongoing investment in PNG and to the success of future potential sovereign bond issuances,” Wilson said.

Total and Oil Search representatives were not immediately available to comment.

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It must be a standalone gas project warns Western Province Governor

Loop PNG | May 7, 2018

The Fly River Provincial Government is putting the State and the O’Neill-Abel Government on Notice that discussions on developing P’nyang Gas Field must be a STANDALONE GAS PROJECT in Western Province.

“This statement is on behalf of P’nyang Gas Project landowners, Western Province and the 8 million shareholders of Papua New Guinea,” says Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto.

While welcoming the recent announcement by O’Neill-Abel Government on the accomplishment of the national building policies to ensure its citizens participate more fully and directly in our country’s gas industry, Yoto noted that the Fly River Provincial Government has to use this opportunity to benefit its people by utilising development of gas projects in the province.

Governor Yoto also noted that leveraging from Ok Tedi Mine of its skill labour, professionals and established contractors, Papua New Guineans including his people could participate from the PDL gas conditioning facility, to the pipeline and downstream storage and gas treatment plants.

This complements the requirement of the national and local content policy, utilise Domestic Market Obligation requirement for domestically produced gas for power generation and related downstream products for investment opportunities under the Third party Access code.

“Fly River Provincial Government has the capability and the capacity to undertake challenges to ensure that the P’nyang Gas project is developed in the province. My Government as the host province to more than 20 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of gas deposit, currently featuring the 4.6TCF in P’nyang Gas field, we are prepared to host the next LNG in the province.

“This standalone project will enable the stranded gas fields in the province to optimise the opportunity for further development my people and the people of Papua New Guinea hope to benefit from,” the Governor said.

The Governor noted that Papua New Guinea has learnt many mistakes and gained enough experiences from the first LNG Project, called PNG LNG, under the operatorship of ExxonMobil.

Juha Gas field was committed to the PNG LNG Project and awarded a PDL9 in 2009 without development. It was warehoused under a unitisation development concept and it is still anticipating development in 15-20 years’ time.

P’nyang gas eld PRL13 with others holds 80 percent of the Recoverable Gas Fields yet to be committed.

“Papua New Guineans cannot afford to make another mistake by simply ignoring the glaring facts the country is facing when granting a PDL licence to developers who would not only warehouse the gas field, denying beneficiaries’ rights, but also do not comply with the laws of our sovereign State, statutory and regulatory requirements of the various licence conditions, and undermine public service mechanisms.”

In noting the serious negligence to the regulatory and compliance requirement, the Governor said ExxonMobil contradicts mandatory pre-requisites to qualify a Petroleum Development Licence stipulated in the Oil and Gas Act, and yet provided additional 18-month extension under section 54(2) Instruments to resubmit the licence conditions as specified below.

1. Section 47 to SMLI – P’nyang Landowners successfully restrained developers to comply with this before development license was granted

2. Third Party Certification of Reserves for blocks

a. Need to know how much can be produced and how much shareholders should own in the pool for the years of production.

3. Confirmation of extension of hydrocarbon pool into undrilled blocks

4. Complete pre-FEED and FEED Studies

a. Very important for Provincial Government and LLG to understand the corridors of impact and planning required on expected risks and opportunities. FEED directs priorities on gas development agendas, and beneficiary matrix.

5. Furnish Economic Model

a. FRPG Need to be included in the discussions leading up to gas agreement terms, to agree on provincial government’s terms before gas agreement is executed

6. Full Scale Social Mapping and Landowner beneficiary Identification

a. SMLI report does not specify the actual beneficiaries of the PDL, and the Pipeline and Processing LNG facility areas? When will this be done? This is a grave concern to the beneficiaries of the LNG project and the very issues affecting the PNG LNG Project landowners and provincial governments

7. How Environmental Permit was obtained without Pre-Feed and FEED?

a. Environment impact Statement was done in PDL areas only, how about the Pipeline areas without consultation with the Provincial Government and LLG?

8. Conceptual Development Basis and Development Plan to start construction immediately

a. We cannot grant a PDL and wait in anticipation for 20 years. It is lawful that PDL is contingent on the actual Development of the Project. P’nyang Gas Field is not part of the Foundation project and therefore will not utilise the PNG LNG gas transport, gas treating and liquefaction plant. It will be built as a STANDALONE Project upon the grant of PDL.

The Governor, while thankful of the Government for taking a strong stand following consultation with the State and stakeholders said ExxonMobil quickly submitted its application for PDL in 2015 after noting the expiry date of Petroleum Retention Licence of P’nyang (PRL 13) in August 2016.

“In November 2016, DPE contentiously issued to ExxonMobil an Instrument under section 54 (2) of Oil and Gas Act, to provide additional information to support application for grant of a Petroleum Development Licence. The instrument contains specific mandatory requirements by law that Esso PNG P’nyang Limited (subsidiary of ExxonMobil PNG Ltd) was to fulfil after they have failed to meet/satisfy the pre-requisites for consideration of a PDL during the 15 years term under various licensing periods as specified by law.

“On 16th December, confirmation from a 2015 subsequent NEC decision 386/2015 noted PRL 3 Application does not meet the minimum statutory requirement for the grant of a PDL. That application failed to commit to Specific Field Development Plan for State to consider, contradicting section 54 of Oil and Gas Act, among detailed development proposal that will give the beneficiaries, provincial government and Local Level Government and landowners the benefit of a doubt.

“One of the case in point is in December 2015, P’nyang Landowners and affected pipeline Local Level Government successfully challenged the validity of Social Mapping and Landowner Identification (SMLI) studies by ExxonMobil and obtained a National Court order restraining ExxonMobil and the State from rushing into a Development Forum in Kiunga,” stated Governor Yoto.

“We are speaking for the benefit of the 8 million shareholders of this country, and PNG Government under the leadership of O’Neill-Abel simply cannot afford to suffer another misery from the hands of ‘economic hitmen’.

“This important project will compensate for the losses and lessons learnt from PNG LNG project and Fly River Provincial Government is prepared to take necessary steps to ensure that my Project will be developed and processed in the Province.”

The Governor pointed out that Western Province has contributed significantly to the development of this country through Ok Tedi Mining operation and it’s time the Government gives back to the people of this country to develop the gas project in the province as a standalone project, under new fiscal terms and commercial arrangements.

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