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By Philip Aisaisa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 27) – More than PGK8.3 billion [US$2.8 billion] will be spent to fund the construction phase of the gas pipeline project [between Papua New Guinea and Australia] and about the same amount will be spent during the operational aspect of the project over 30 years, according to Exxon Mobile environmental and regulatory specialist John Rullman.

The construction will include a proposed new gas production facility in Hides next to the existing facility, a new central gas conditioning plant at Kutubu and 42 bridges, roads and a wharf in Kopi.

Mr. Rullman said 42 bridges will be constructed. These will include 15 in new locations, 22 bridges will be rebuilt or modified and five existing bridges will be replaced.

He explained to the landowners during the consultative meetings that the new facility in Hides will facilitate the separation of raw gas into rich gas and condensate, which will be piped to the central gas conditioning plant in Kutubu.

He said the facilities will be unmanned and will be controlled from Kutubu Central Control Room.

The facilities will include state-of-the-art machines to separate natural gas into rich gas and liquids, two generators for power, freestanding flare stack and other facilities for glycol storage and distribution among others.

"The new central gas conditioning facility in Kutubu will include gas separation, conditioning and compression. Condensate from Hides will be blended directly into crude oil for export," he said.

Mr. Rullman said three pipes will be constructed for rich gas, natural gas liquids and glycol return line. These pipes will run from the Hides production facility across the Tagari River to Idauwi, Angore; then to south Homa.

He said from Homa, the pipeline will follow through existing roads to Kutubu.

The sellable gas will be supplied from Kutubu to Kopi and to Omarti River and to the Papua New Guinea - Australia international border.

"The environmental impact during construction phase is relatively low and manageable," Mr. Rullman said.

He said the environment, especially flora and fauna, will recover through natural re-vegetation after two to three years after construction is completed.

"This will be a big development investment for the landowners and for Papua New Guinea," Mr. Rullman said.

January 30, 2006

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