PNG, France's Total sign up to LNG project

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The Papua New Guinea government and France's Total SA have signed a long-awaited fiscal stability agreement for the Papua LNG project, PNG Prime Minister James Marape says.

After nearly two years of uncertainty over the fate of the 5.4 million tonne a year liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, Marape said the agreement would stick to terms agreed in April 2019 for a project involving two production units.

"It demonstrates Papua New Guinea's commitment to the Papua LNG Project and gives comfort and encouragement to the developers to progress the project," Marape said in a statement on Tuesday.

Total and its partners ExxonMobil Corp and Oil Search Ltd had planned to develop Papua LNG in tandem with an expansion of Exxon's PNG LNG in a $US13 billion project adding three new production units at the PNG LNG plant, to help save billions of dollars.

The plan was to double the country's LNG exports to 16 million tonnes a year.

However, Exxon has not agreed to terms sought by the government for the P'nyang gas development that was going to help feed the expansion, so Total's Papua LNG project will go ahead with two new production units to be built at the PNG LNG site, fed by the Elk Antelope gas fields.

Papua LNG would still benefit from savings by building its units at the PNG LNG site, which will also help limit its environmental impact.

"These are great outcomes for all stakeholders of the project but more so the National Government," Marape said.