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    Has anyone read this, it appeared in PNG's national newspaper online
    Govt clinches deals to push gas project

    Sales contracts needed for the project to go ahead are secured: Sir Moi

    By DENYS IORERE
    PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Sir Moi Avei said yesterday the National Government has about half the sales contracts that it needs to obtain a green light for the PNG Gas Project.
    This followed several important meetings on the gas project this week and the rising expectation that the US$75 million (K364 million) front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of the project can commence next month.
    Sir Moi had a dinner with Queensland State Development Minister, Tom Barton, and requested his assistance in securing sales contracts for the PNG gas in Queensland.
    Mr Barton is currently in the country as a guest of ExxonMobil, the operator of the K14 billion (US$3.5 billion) PNG to Queensland Gas Project.
    "We have about half the sales contracts we need for the project to definitely proceed but we need to finalise additional contracts in Townsville, Gladstone and Brisbane," said Sir Moi.
    "Most of the customers involved are owned by the Queensland government and I asked Tom Barton to do all he can to help finalise these contracts," he said.
    Yesterday, Mr Barton visited the Hides Gas fields, which would supply almost half the gas needed.
    Mr Barton also confirmed that Queensland Premier Peter Beattie would visit PNG on December 9-10.
    Earlier this week, Sir Moi and the Minister for Treasury and Finance, Bart Philemon, met with senior ExxonMobil officials from Australia and Houston, United States to review progress on the project.
    "Minister Philemon and I are very encouraged by the progress report given by ExxonMobi and we are looking forward to an announcement soon that the companies will proceed with the Front-end Engineering Design (FEED), which will cost about US$75 million," said Sir Moi.
    The National Executive Council (NEC) this week approved PNG participation in the project, including the setting up of three new Mineral Resources Development subsidiaries.
    "This has been a very busy and very productive week for our Government's involvement in the gas project.
    "We have shown the companies that we have now got our act together and I am looking forward to working closely with them over the next few weeks to ensure that the project definitely goes ahead," said Sir Moi.
 
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