Papua New Guinea PM Invites Taiwan to Join LNG Project

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare met with Lien Chan, the special envoy of the president of Taiwan, and took the occasion to reiterate his invitation to Taiwanese investors to join in the development of the second liquefied natural gas project in the country.

"Our discussions were fruitful... we identified areas of cooperation that will further enhance our commercial relations," Sir Michael said of their meeting last Saturday [November 14th, at the APEC summit in Singapore]. He briefed Mr Lien on a second LNG project that was being developed.

"The results derived from exploration works indicated the gas reserves might be bigger than currently known wells," Sir Michael told Mr Lien. "I reiterate my invitation for Taiwan to consider participating in this second LNG project," he said.

"I hope the Taiwanese government can assist in facilitating the speedy conclusion of an appropriate sales and purchasing agreement between the developers and Taiwan.

"My government is committed to this project and will do everything within its authority to ensure the project comes on stream as scheduled," he said. He said the LNG project would underpin the long-term economic wellbeing of PNG and at the same time provide the means to boost trade relations between PNG and Taiwan.

Sir Michael praised the Taiwanese agriculture mission in PNG for doing a good job.

"We should seek not only to extend its term when it expires but assist it expand operations to other parts of the country," he said.

The prime minister said PNG was also grateful for the assistance provided under the first phase of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Digital Opportunities Centre (ADOC) program and was hopeful that Taiwan would continue to provide us assistance under the second phase of this program.

Under APEC arrangements, members are classified as "economies" which also entitles Taiwan to attend these summits as a separate economy from China.

The prime minister said he would be asking his officials to liaise with the trade representatives in Port Moresby and the project developers to provide all the relevant details for their information and consideration.

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.