|Monday, 28 May 2012|
INTEROIL chief executive officer Phil Mulacek updates PNGIndustryNews.net on progress at the Triceratops-2 well and deal making for the Gulf LNG project.
|Triceratops-2 well in PNG's Gulf province. Image courtesy of InterOil.|
A formal process to find a suitable LNG operator for the InterOil-led Gulf LNG project in Papua New Guinea has been ongoing since October.
The talks followed very public criticism of the project by Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma.
His main argument was that the project lacked a promised world-class LNG operator but he had since promoted Royal Dutch Shell as a good fit in this regard.
InterOil recently signalled an announcement on a new operator was on the cards but the latest political events in Port Moresby have caused fresh delays.
The various political events, which include a state of emergency votes in Parliament, are well reported already and followed the Supreme Court’s findings a week ago that Sir Michael Somare was the rightful prime minister instead of Peter O’Neill.
Regarding the prospect of a looming breakthrough in project talks with the government, on Friday Mulacek told PNGIndustryNews.net “we were ready” but the political situation had slowed the progress down.
He confirmed “suitable, proven LNG operators” were part of the bidding but could not comment on the “final process yet”.
Mulacek said InterOil had successfully scheduled meetings with Duma and department secretary Rendle Rimua but it was too early to talk as PNG politics “went backwards” since the recent Supreme Court decision.
Meanwhile, he said he expected a number of key events for the T-2 well over the next 15-21 days.
On the deeper zone, identifying possible moveable hydrocarbons, Mulacek said work was underway which included casing the lower section, perforating and testing.
There are already some observed differences between this lower section of T-2 compared to findings from InterOil’s Elk-Antelope discoveries in Gulf province.
“The sidewall cores, logs and early drill stem tests show a material difference from [the] Antelope [field],” Mulacek said.
“The testing will provide final confirmation.”
As of last year, the Gulf LNG project was targeting 5 million tonnes per annum in 2014, with 3Mtpa from an Energy World Corporation-designed onshore modular LNG plant in Gulf province and the rest from a floating LNG facility.
There is also a proposed ramp-up aiming to hit up to 8Mtpa from the total project through 2015 and 2016.
Back in 2009, the project was based on a 7.6-10.6Mtpa LNG plant near Port Moresby. All of these plans were based on the gas from the Elk-Antelope field.
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