September 3, 2019 / 6:18 AM / 18 days ago

Papua New Guinea allows Papua LNG project to go ahead

MELBOURNE, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea said on Tuesday it would honour a gas deal that Total SA signed with a previous government for a $13 billion plan to expand gas exports, after securing promises from the French company to consider some future benefits for the country.

"The government has now cleared Total to proceed full steam ahead with the implementation of the Papua Gas Project," Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua said in a statement, following nearly three weeks of talks seeking to revise the agreement.

Total and its partners, Exxon Mobil Corp and Oil Search Ltd, had pressed the government to honour the gas agreement signed in April with the previous government.

Kua said Total had made some concessions in a letter promising to prepare a detailed national content plan for the project and negotiate with any third party that wants access to petroleum pipelines on the project. It would also be willing to negotiate for the state to take a stake in the pipelines after the state has repaid all its loans and costs on the project, and would consider buying LNG carriers in a joint venture with the state.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; editing by Richard Pullin

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