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ExxonMobil begins commissioning Papua New Guinea LNG plant


Operator ExxonMobil has begun commissioning its Papua New Guinea LNG plant near Port Moseby, in preparation for first production in 2014, the company said Monday.

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The $19 billion PNG LNG project is now more than 90% complete and remains on budget and on track to deliver its first cargoes in the second half of next year, ExxonMobil said. The plant will have the capacity to produce 6.9 million mt/year of LNG.

"The project has been able to maintain its schedule in PNG under unique and challenging circumstances," said Decie Autin, PNG LNG project executive. "Our focus on disciplined project execution has allowed us to meet our scheduling commitments without further cost increases."

The budget for the PNG LNG project was revised from $15.7 billion to $19 billion in late 2012.

The project is owned by ExxonMobil (33.2%), Oil Search (29%), the PNG government's National Petroleum Company of PNG (16.8%), Santos (13.5%), JX Nippon Oil and Energy (4.7%) and local landowner company MRDC (2.8%).

"With more than 19,000 people currently working across the project, including more than 7,500 Papua New Guineans, we are making significant progress," Autin said. "Antonov cargo aircraft operations into Komo airfield were completed on August 13, 2013, and installation of equipment delivered from Komo to the Hides gas conditioning plant is currently under way."

The commissioning phase at the LNG plant includes sending gas from Oil Search's Kutubu central processing facility to the LNG plant to provide power and enable testing and commissioning of key facilities and equipment, ExxonMobil said.

The company is meanwhile continuing to assess expansion and development opportunities in PNG. Mark Nolan, the company's vice president for Middle East and Australia, said in May that the timing and size of an expansion of the PNG LNG project had not been decided.

--Christine Forster,

--Edited by Geetha Narayanasamy,