US energy giant Exxon Mobil says its PNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) joint venture project is almost complete and will deliver first gas within months.
Exxon project executive Decie Autin said the massive LNG project in the country’s highlands was ahead of schedule and on budget.
“Overall we’re more than 95 per cent complete and we’re on track for first delivery of gas to our customers by mid year,” Ms Autin told the APPEA oil and gas conference in Perth on Wednesday.
“Exxon Mobil is delivering this project ahead of schedule and essentially on budget in a field where many others cannot say the same.”
North Asian customers are expecting LNG shipments in the second half of 2014.
Exxon operates the project and holds a 33 per cent stake, while Australian producer Oil Search has a 29 per cent share.
The PNG government has a 17 per cent interest and Australian producer Santos holds around 13.5 per cent.
Ms Autin said the project – the largest investment ever undertaken in PNG – had overcome significant construction and engineering challenges in difficult terrain and weather conditions.
Exxon built an airfield for the world’s largest cargo planes and staff charter flights in the highlands region, and it also used flotation tyres for trucks in thick mud during heavy rainfall.
Around 1200 people are expected to be employed in the operating phase after employment peaked at 23,000 during construction.
Australian contractors such as Clough, and a range of suppliers, have also been involved in the project.
In January, New York listed Exxon reported a 1.8 per cent fall in fourth quarter earnings.