He obtained from PNG’s Petroleum and Energy Department, with strong support from Mr Duma, gas exploration tenements in- and off- shore from the Gulf province to the northwest of Port Moresby.
A resources expert in PNG said such tenements were allocated without cost, but on the condition a set amount of work was conducted during a certain period, or else their control was resumed by the government.
Mr Palmer, who did not respond to calls yesterday, said last August that he had already spent more than $A50 million exploring his PNG leases, and that one gas field there, 12km off the coast, could be worth more than $US35 billion, rivalling Australia’s North West Shelf, with its value many times that once in production.
He said the deposit had the potential to power a city the size of Brisbane for at least 100 years.
"It won’t make much difference to my life, but it should be good for the people of PNG," he said.
Mr Duma has stayed with Mr Palmer when visiting Brisbane. Their relationship has become politically controversial in PNG.
It is understood that Mr Duban, who was formerly police minister, has been asked by Mr O’Neill to review oil and gas exploration leases, with a view to ensuring that development is promoted as rapidly as possible.
Mr Palmer’s leases, held through Palmer Petroleum and Chinampa Exploration, of which he owns 50 per cent, are among those that will come up for assessment.
Mr Duban will take charge of PNG’s official role in the commissioning later this year of the $US19bn ExxonMobil-led PNG liquefied natural gas project, and in the development of the Elk Antelope field in Gulf province, 61 per cent of which was recently bought by French oil giant Total from PNG-based Interoil.
Post Courier / PNG Facts