Kua said the government has the option to postpone the P`nyang project until the new oil and gas legislation and revised tax regime are put in place this year. Nevertheless, he said it was more advantageous to have the P`nyang gas agreement negotiated and signed under the 1998 oil and gas law. “All that is going well, we can expect to sign a P`Nyang gas agreement towards the end of this month,” Kua said. The P`nyang gas field development proposal calls for the construction of a third LNG train at the PNG LNG project plant in Caution Bay, near Port Moresby, but which will be treated as an integrated autonomous gas project, in accordance with the terms of a gas agreement. According to the government, the new P`nyang gas deal will be separated from the terms of the agreements governing the initial LNG project and the new LNG project in Papua. Talks on the project were frozen earlier this year, when the government tried to revise a separate LNG deal with French energy company Total, in which exxon also participates. This deal was finally ratified at the beginning of September with minor concessions from Total. The government of Papua New Guinea has suspended negotiations with ExxonMobil for a gas deal for the planned development of the P`nyang gas field in the country`s western highlands. He said the Papua LNG project had been delayed for two reasons: the COVID-19 pandemic and The insistence of ExxonMobil and Oil Search to include the P`nyang project as part of the deal. Marape opposed it and insisted that Papua LNG not be subject to the condition that it be integrated into P`nyang. Papua New Guinea will begin talks with Exxon Mobil Corp to try to negotiate better terms for the P`Nyang gas project, Oil Minister Kerenga Kua said, with a deal expected by the end of the month if all goes well.
“Exxon Mobil`s offer was little changed from the opening offer presented last November,” Prime Minister James Marape said in a statement, adding that it was not “significantly” different from a recent LNG deal with Total. The P`nyang deal is one of two deals Exxon and its partners need to advance their $13 billion plan to increase LNG exports. The other agreement, the Papua LNG Pact, was sealed by Total in September. The country`s oil minister said last year that the government would push Exxon to “much better” terms for the P`nyang project than with the Total deal. The State is a partner in the PNG LNG project. At first, the state never made any money for the project, but signed an agreement for other partners to launch our invoices and then settle our income from the sale. An Exxon Mobil spokesman told Reuters the company was disappointed that no deal could be reached. Oil Minister Kerenga Kua said at the time that the tax conditions imposed on Papua LNG were only a slight improvement over the original LNG project.
He added, however, that the papua New Guinea government expects the P`nyang agreement to continue and bring the country much better tax and economic benefits. Discussions on the P`nyang gas deal continue despite the current low level of oil prices. “While Oil Search will continue the dialogue with the state on the P`nyang land and try to achieve an adequate balance between risk and return for all stakeholders in the future development, our intention is now to focus on the development of the Papua LNG project (Elk/Antelope) under the terms agreed in April 2019 and approved by the current government in September 2019. as well as the exploration and development of our assets in Alaska (North Slope),” Said Botten. The government says ExxonMobil, operator of the P`nyang field, has refused to change its position on the financial terms for the development of the project and has not made an offer that the government can accept.