Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/15/2013 -- BMI View: Plans to commercialise Papua New Guinea's gas potential with a number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects continue to advance. With first gas from Exxon's PNG LNG projects still set for 2014, the country is on track to benefit from its strategic location and sizable unused reserves. Progress on a long-stalled second LNG led by InterOil, and reports from Talisman Energy that the firm may have the resources base to support a separate LNG project, reinforce optimism regarding the country's gas sector.
The entrance of new players such as Total and potentially Shell to the country's upstream could further boost the outlook for the country's gas upstream, although we forecast that a continued decline in liquids production by 2022 will leave PNG with a net import requirement of some 50,000b/d.
The main trends and developments we highlight for PNG's Oil and Gas sector are:
- First gas from the US$15.7bn ExxonMobil-led PNG LNG project could treble PNG's exports and boost its GDP by at least 20%. The project remains on track for first gas in 2014, and Exxon and its partners continue to aggressively target the reserves to support a third train at the facility. However, we highlight cost overruns, with Exxon estimating costs have increased by up to 20%, as a potential concern for future projects.
- InterOil's Liquid Niugini (Gulf LNG) project could be revived after a deal giving the PNG government an increased stake after the projects was nearly cancelled by officials frustrated with continued delays. With government support and resources already identified, the project is well positioned to advance, yet a final investment decision (FID) on the project due before the end of 2012 has now been extended according to the latest information available at the time of writing from InterOil.
- Total's farm-in agreement with Oil Search adds a proven player to the country's upstream, and the French international oil company has already announced its intention to become the operator of an LNG facility and move ahead with a robust exploration schedule in 2013.
- We expect oil production to average 24,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 2022, while consumption is forecast to rise by 4.8% per annum to 2022, implying demand of around 74,000b/d by the end of the forecast period. The net import requirement would therefore be approximately 50,000b/d by 2022.
- Rising competition in the LNG market in Asia, as well as from new sources of supply abroad, could undermine the commercial viability of greenfield export projects in PNG. This is particularly true in the face of project delays and significant cost overruns impacting current developments. Alongside longstanding concerns regarding the country's business environment, notwithstanding recent signs of improvement, these above ground concerns remain downside risk to the sector's outlook.
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