US energy giant ExxonMobil said it was still assessing the extent of damage at its PNG LNG export project following a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck on Monday in Papua New Guinea’s highlands.
ExxonMobil previously announced it had shut the two LNG trains at the plant on the coast near Port Moresby after earlier shutting its Hides gas conditioning plant and Hides production pads in Hela province in the highlands region.
In an update on Thursday, ExxonMobil’s PNG unit, operator of PNG LNG, said the evacuation of non-essential personnel from the Hides plant had been completed with specialist engineers flown to Hides to join remaining personnel on site to assist with damage and repair assessments.
According to the statement, a surveillance of the PNG LNG pipeline on Wednesday, February 28 confirmed it has not been damaged.
“A full assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake is expected to take time, particularly given the damage to roads and other infrastructure,” the statement said.
ExxonMobil declares force majeure?
Reuters reported on Friday citing an unidentified industry source as saying that ExxonMobil had declared force majeure on exports from the PNG LNG project.
The report said that ExxonMobil had earlier told buyers that the plant’s two LNG trains would be shut for at least seven days.
According to the report, there are concerns about a possible extended shutdown, which could affect not only the project’s four main buyers but also other buyers in Asia.
ExxonMobil owns 41.6% percent in the LNG project while Oil Search holds a 29 percent interest in PNG LNG, partly located in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.
The project includes the gas conditioning plant in Hides and liquefaction and storage facilities near Port Moresby with a capacity of 6.9 million tonnes per year.
LNG World News Staff