12 Feb 2007

PNG government creates company for gas sector

4:08 pm on 12 February 2007

The Papua New Guinea cabinet has approved the creation of a state-owned company to commercialise the country's gas reserves.

The company will be called Petromin and aims to help exploit gas reserves estimated to be about 15 trillion cubic feet.

The government move comes after the much-vaunted project by Oil Search Limited to build a pipeline from PNG's highlands to the Australian state of Queensland was abandoned at the beginning of this month.

Our Port Moresby correspondent, Alex Rheeney, says the announcement has taken stakeholders by surprise.

"The foreign affairs minister, Paul Tiensten, has actually been put in charge by cabinet on all LNG matters. So he will take charge of Petromin and he reckons the creation of Petromin will now put the government in the driver's seat in its bid to commercialise PNG's vast gas resources."

Alex Rheeney