Australia's Palmer discovers potential $35 billion PNG gas region

SYDNEY Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:21am EDT

Australian Billionaire Clive Palmer speaks at a news conference to announce his plan to build Titanic II, a modern replica of the doomed ocean liner, at the Ritz in central London March 2, 2013. Reuters/Olivia Harris

Australian Billionaire Clive Palmer speaks at a news conference to announce his plan to build Titanic II, a modern replica of the doomed ocean liner, at the Ritz in central London March 2, 2013. Reuters/Olivia Harris

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian mining mogul Clive Palmer says his oil and gas business has identified what could be one of the world's largest gas fields off the coast of Papua New Guinea, potentially worth $35 billion.

After $50 million worth of exploration over 3,000 square km, the northern region of the Gulf of Papua was found to have about 28 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

"The results of the studies are extremely favorable and show this new Papua New Guinea gas region could possibly be as significant a resource area as the North West Shelf in Western Australia," said Palmer in a statement.

The region, 12 km (7 miles) from the coastline, is near Exxon Mobil's (XOM.N) $19 billion LNG project, which is set to come online in 2014 with a capacity of 6.9 million tonnes (1.1023 ton) of LNG per year.

Palmer said the Papua New Guinea government had offered strong support to take the gas project forward.

(Reporting by Michael Sin; Editing by Michael Perry)

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