Papua LNG

A liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea

Thanks to Crédit Agricole, TotalEnergies is developing a new climate bomb in Papua New Guinea: the “Papua LNG” liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will lead to the emission of over 220 million tonnes of CO2.   

This project confirms TotalEnergies’ intention to establish itself in Papua New Guinea. In 2012, the French major acquired the Elk and Antelope gas fields in the country’s southern Gulf province. It has also acquired other oil and gas exploration licenses, notably in deep water (source Rystad).   

At a time when Papua New Guinea could be developing vast quantities of renewables for 100 times less money, the Papua LNG project is continuing the race for gas in the country, with the support of Crédit Agricole, which is backing TotalEnergies in the financial package for the project. Yet Crédit Agricole has committed to achieving net zero on a 1.5°C trajectory. According to the IEA, this is incompatible with the development of new fossil fuel projects, including LNG!  

There’s still time to stop TotalEnergies’ expansion and end the race for gas in Papua New Guinea. 

Overview of the Papua LNG project

– – – Papua LNG Pipeline

Gas fields

Papua LNG & PNG LNG Plants

Divided between TotalEnergies (37.55% stake), Exxon Mobil (37.04%) Santos (22.83%) and JX Nippon (2.58%), the project comprises 9 production wells in the Gulf Province, a 320 km onshore and offshore pipeline, and 4 electric liquefaction trains.   

The project, estimated to cost $10 billion, has launched the fully integrated Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) of the project in March 2023. TotalEnergies says it intends to announce the “final investment decision” (FID) for the project in early 2024. This key step, which is being supported by the French bank Crédit Agricole, would enable it to announce that the project can go ahead.   

of pipeline
electric liquefaction trains
production wells

Risky for the climate and for local populations  

tons of CO2

A new climate bomb  

The Papua LNG project alone would increase the country’s annual emissions from the industrial and energy sectors by 7%, resulting in over 220 million tons of CO2 emissions (scope 3), or as much as the annual emissions of the whole of Bangladesh and its 169 million inhabitants.   

As such, it is not compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, given that the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions (NZE) scenario recommends that new natural gas fields that have not received a final investment decision before the end of 2021, such as Papua LNG, should not be exploited.    

The people of Papua New Guinea are already bearing the full brunt of the effects of climate change. Entire communities from coastal regions and islands have already been forced to relocate, sometimes several times over, due to rising sea levels, wave damage and salinization of land and water.

A threat to local populations  

The country’s first LNG infrastructure, PNG LNG, developed by ExxonMobil, has a serious record of human rights violations. Abuses by private security forces, failure to respect the consent of project-affected populations, land disputes and intra-community violence have all been reported. 

Consultations with communities affected by the Papua LNG project have provoked fears that their rights will similarly not be protected: police travelled with consultants in charge of assessing human rights impacts, and the information provided about the project remains very patchy, despite repeated requests from local communities and civil society.    

Questionable benefits for Papua New Guinea

Gas from the Papua LNG project would be exported to international markets, with uncertain benefits for the country’s economy and its people. Yet another model is possible for Papua New Guinea: by 2030, 78% of the country’s electricity needs could be met at a cost of $110 million – 100 times less than that of the Papua LNG project, according to government estimates. 

We are very concerned about the lack of clarity regarding consultations with communities affected by the project. The information available does not make it possible to ensure that the communities will be able to give their Free, Prior and Informed Consent to this project, as is their right. Without these guarantees, financial actors should not give the green light to such a project!

Peter Bosip, Representative of Papua New Guinea NGO CELCOR

A contested project  

For decades, the Papua New Guinean environmental organization, the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR) has been fighting for social and climate justice and against extractive projects in Papua New Guinea. Its director, Peter Bosip, has been campaigning for biological conservation, environmental rights and the rights of local populations to decide on the use of their land for 25 years. Today, Peter Bosip and CELCOR oppose the development of new LNG terminals in their country, such as Papua LNG. 

Papua New Guinea is already bearing the brunt of climate change. By developing this fossil fuel project, TotalEnergies would be taking us even further into new climatic, environmental and social risks. If we are to have a sustainable future, French banks, and Crédit Agricole in particular, must commit to renewal energies and no longer supporting Papua LNG

L’équipe du Centre pour les droits communautaires et la loi environnementale (CELCOR)

Crédit Agricole must withdraw from Papua LNG

As financial advisor for the project, Crédit Agricole is supporting TotalEnergies in obtaining financing for the project, valued at over $10 billion. At a time when Philippe Brassac, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, has stated that oil and gas expansion is incompatible with the 1.5°C objective, it is time for the bank to assume its responsibilities towards its customers and withdraw from this type of project.

To date, three European banks, HSBC, ING and Société Générale, have undertaken not to finance new LNG terminals associated with new gas fields. They are therefore unlikely to finance the Papua LNG project.

Other banks, such as BNP Paribas, which ranks second among the French major’s biggest financiers, as well as insurers and investors, must now refuse to support the Papua LNG project, and stop all direct support for new oil and gas production and transportation projects by TotalEnergies.

Take action to stop Papua LNG

The project has not yet reached the stage of a final investment decision (FID), when major financial commitments could be made by financial players. There is still time to prevent this decision from being taken, by putting pressure on the financial players behind TotalEnergies, first and foremost Crédit Agricole! 

learn more

Open Letter to Philippe Brassac and Xavier Muscavier Musca, CEOs of Crédit Agricole and Crédit Agricole Corporate Investment Bank, Signed by 18 Civil Society Organizations (August 2023) Read more

Financiers taking the risk: Papua LNG’IEEFA (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis) Report on the financial risks of the Papua LNG project (May 2023). Lire plus

In Papua New Guinea, Emmanuel Macron is Backing a New Climate Bomb Op-ed by Reclaim Finance and CELCOR (July 2023) Read more

Open Letter to the Import-Export Bank of the United States, Signed by 6 Papuan CSOs and 21 organizations from the United States and the Asia-Pacific Region (August 2023). Read more

Papua LNG Human Rights Impact Assessment, Focus on Gender, Security and Conflict, The Danish Institute for Human Rights, Assessment report on risks associated with the Papua LNG Project. The Danish Institute for Human Rights ended its partnership with Total in 2020. Read more

Papua New Guinea Needs Climate Justice and Sustainable Development, Not Fossil FuelsStatement by CELCOR on the occasion of Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Papua New Guinea (July 2023) Read more

Building on what works, CELCOR and Jubilee Australia Research Centre, Report on the development potential of renewable energy in Papua New Guinea (January 2023).
Read more