Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has told investors in Tokyo that his country is well placed to become a strategic supplier of Japan's long-term energy needs.Japan is the world's biggest importer of Liquid Natural Gas and Papua New Guinea's second largest aid and trade partner.
Prime Minister O'Neill says the start of shipments from PNG's huge ExxonMobil-led LNG project next year will herald an "unprecedented" period of gas exports to Japan.
Mr O'Neill has urged Japanese investors to get more involved in the booming gas and mining industries, as well as other sectors.
He also told them to seriously consider taking on local joint-venture partners and contractors.
Mr O'Neill and a delegation of ministers and senior officials are on a 3-day visit to Japan at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Critical stageThe prime minister says PNG is at a critical stage in its development as a nation, especially in the mining petroleum resources.
"The record capital spending now under way in the petroleum sector will slow significantly from this year unless we bring new projects to the approval and development stages soon," Mr O'Neill said.
"My government is fully committed to that happening, but we don't just want projects that have an export focus alone...We need the right mix of more LNG projects.
"I know some Japanese firms have an interest in this area and have been consulting relevant partners and government.
"I urge you to work with us to make it happen."