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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (September 4, 2000 - Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---The builders of the 3,200-kilometer (1,920-mile) gas pipeline from Papua New Guinea to Australia have guaranteed the project would help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Chevron, the company responsible for the PNG gas plan, has joined the Australian government's Greenhouse Challenge program. It committed itself to cut emissions by more than seven million tons by 2014.

It is the 234th company to join the program, implemented as part of the Australian government's policy to cut emissions under the international Kyoto Protocol.

"For Chevron, in particular, this is our fourth project we have supported in one way or another as part of the Greenhouse Challenge," Chevron managing director John Gass said when signing up for the program.

"I think the PNG gas project is quite a visionary project when you think of what's involved.

"It's 3,200 kilometers of pipeline, $3.5 billion of investment and crossing international borders. The economic benefits are quite large, for PNG and Australia."

The project is set to begin next year and will deliver Papua New Guinea gas to Queensland via the Torres Strait.

The Australian national commodities forecaster, ABARE, estimates it will create about AUD$ 6 billion (US$ 3.456 billion) of investment around the pipeline, AUD$ 2 billion (US$ 1.152 billion) in ongoing annual spending and 3,000 jobs.

Australian Environment Minister Robert Hill said Chevron was committing to eliminating more than 10 per cent of the total 1998 emissions from the entire transport sector.

The PNG-Australia pipeline project had been under economic pressure earlier, as rival power projects threatened to cut into its viability.

The project proposes piping gas from the resource in the Southern Highlands, down through the Gulf Province, and undersea.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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