The managing director of Total E&P PNG, operator of the Papua LNG project, says production is expected to start in 2022/2023. He says Total is using local labour and companies as much as possible.
Q: What has the past 12 months been about for Total?
A: The past 12 months were mostly dedicated to progressing our Papua LNG development. We drilled Antelope 6 (at the) beginning of 2016 and we are currently drilling Antelope 7. This Antelope 7 well should be the last appraisal well. It is located to the west of the field and is required to finalise the assessment of Elk Antelope resources. We have also started several field surveys required to perform the environmental and social impact assessments. That will provide us with the baseline, which will be used to minimise the potential development impact on the communities and the environment.
Q: So after you’ve finished that well, you’ll have a good idea of the extent of gas reserves?
A: Yes. We should have a clearer picture of what is in the ground and we hope that uncertainties will be strongly reduced.
Q: You have mentioned previously that there is an opportunity to present LNG to the market in around 2022. Is that window still open?
A: Yes, with our planning as it stands today, that window is still open. It’s more 2022/2023 and all the teams are working hard to respect this target. This planning considers that FEED (Front End Engineering and Design) is due to start this year, for a final investment decision (FID) at the end of 2018. The construction will happen then between 2019 and 2022.
Q: And if that’s the case, when do you start hiring?
A: First, keep in mind that the project is already benefiting the local communities as there are opportunities offered for logistics and drilling activities; however, more people will be employed in the coming years. Which year exactly? I would say that it depends on what type of work needs to be done. There will be site preparations for the different locations followed by construction. So part of this could start in 2019.
Q: How many staff have you got at the moment?
A: For Total we have about 140/150 people. This personnel is located in Port Moresby but also on the ground on PRL15, where we have a logistics base, a drilling site and few surveys camps. In addition, we have contracted staff on these sites. ■
Phillippe Blanchard … says local communities are already benefiting from the Papua LNG project. “There are opportunities offered for logistics and drilling activities; however, more people will be employed in the coming years.”