PNG PM INVITES JAPANESE INVESTORS INTO GAS PROJECT

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Somare says there is room for more partners

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 20, 2009) – Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare has invited interested Japanese companies to consider taking out partnership interests in the second PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) project led by InterOil Corp.

Sir Michael was in Tokyo yesterday where he officiated at the trade and investment seminar being held there.

In his remark, the Prime Minister acknowledged the partnership of Japanese company Nippon Oil in the major LNG project led by ExxonMobil.

He said developers of both projects had reaffirmed their determination to push ahead with the projects.

"The Government has interest in both projects and will welcome Japanese investors to participate in them.

"At this stage, both projects have different needs and I can assure you that my Government will do everything within its authority to facilitate Japanese interest in the projects," Sir Michael said as he acknowledged interests of other Japanese companies in the projects.

He said there was room for new partners in either of the two projects in the upstream, midstream and downstream.

The discoveries in the two projects areas involved wet gas that contain quantities of condensate and liquefied petroleum gas.

Sir Michael also introduced Oil Min, a landowner group in Sandaun province reportedly looking for project partners to develop its fields after the Government petroleum licence.

He said for PNG and Japan to continue the trend, it could be stemmed with targeted investments to grow the targeted areas already identified in the 2006 "Okinawa partnership".

"Japan is PNG’s second largest trading partner. Overall trade between our two countries is revolving around K3 billion and is in PNG’s favour," Sir Michael said.

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