10 May 2005

PNG appoints financial advisor for PNG to Australia pipeline

10:18 am on 10 May 2005

The Papua New Guinea government has appointed Australia's Macquarie Bank as its financial adviser to help raise money for the proposed PNG-to-Queensland pipeline.

The project involves the development of a natural gas pipeline linking gas from the PNG Highlands to markets in Australia.

The National newspaper reports the Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Sir Moi Avei, said PNG would assume at least a six-per cent interest in the pipeline.

Senior executives from partners in the project - Oil Search and Exxon Mobil, told an Australia-PNG Business Forum they were confident sufficient customers would buy PNG gas now that front-end engineering and design work on the pipeline had begun.

Oil Search managing director Peter Botten also told the forum that PNG would increase its oil exports next year, reversing a nine year decline.

Mr Botten said he also expected a decision to be made within two weeks for the go-ahead on the design of a gas pipeline to Port Moresby to supply gas to a proposed petrochemical plant.

The company is the country's largest oil and gas producer.