TotalEnergies’ Papua LNG project finally moves into FEED in Papua New Guinea


The progress of Papua New Guinea’s next major gas project, Papua LNG, appears on schedule as operator TotalEnergies announces the project is entering its front end engineering and design (FEED) stage. The company is promoting the project’s low carbon credentials.

Credit: TotalEnergies

The FEED process is an essential step ahead of a final investment decision for the Papua LNG project, expected in late 2023.

AccordingTotalEnergies, the FEED process will initially centre on the upstream production facilities for the project, which are based on the Elk and Antelope gas fields in PNG’s Gulf Province.

At the same time, studies are progressing on the project’s downstream liquefaction facilities at ExxonMobil’s PNG LNG plant at Caution Bay outside Port Moresby, with the intention that an ‘integrated’ FEED for the two ends of the new project will commence in the fourth quarter of this year.

If it stays on schedule, the Papua LNG project will start producing gas for export at the end of 2027.

‘The commencement of upstream FEED studies is another significant step towards developing the Papua LNG project, which will increase Papua New Guinea’s LNG export capacity and thus contribute to its further development,’ said Julien Pouget, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific for Exploration & Production and Renewables at TotalEnergies in a statement.

TotalEnergies is the largest shareholder in the project, with a 31.1% interest, alongside partners ExxonMobil (28.3 per cent) and Santos (17.7 per cent). State-owned Kumul Petroleum is the PNG State’s nominee for its 22.5 per cent back-in right, to be taken up on the project’s commencement.

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Carbon capture

Notably, Pouget highlighted the project’s low carbon credentials.

‘The Papua LNG project is well positioned to contribute to growth in LNG supply worldwide, especially for customers in Asia seeking to decarbonise from coal to gas, in line with our strategy to lower global greenhouse gas emissions.’

Total says the project will incorporate a carbon capture and storage scheme for the fields’ native CO2 – excess gas which traditionally would be burned off using flares – which will be reinjected into the reservoirs.

TotalEnergies’ claim that Papua LNG is a ‘landmark project in terms of sustainability, biodiversity, and low carbon emissions’ is not without validity, according to David Lennox, Resource Analyst at research firm Fat Prophets.

He tells Business Advantage PNG that plans for a carbon capture and storage scheme were innovative in PNG and the region.

‘While carbon capture is becoming common practice, capturing carbon at source is relatively new. No-one’s doing that at the moment,’ he says. Reinjecting excess gas also helps to maintain pressure in a gas field.

He also notes the high current gas prices and demand for alternative sources of gas caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should make it easier for the project to obtain finance should a positive final investment decision be reached next year.

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