I've got several pages of notes to distill into some coherent form from the annual meeting this morning, but I thought I'd start by addressing your question.
Regarding the political upheavel going on in PNG Phil addressed it head on: Since IOC started doing business there he has seen eight prime ministers and 15 petroleum ministers. IOC has never failed at reaching any objective. In a conversation subsequent to the presentation Phil spoke about the relationship building with the people since they first arrived in the country. I seriously doubt there is an issue.
With respect to the specific licensing procedures, Phil said the way PNG works is they get a license to build. Once built the government tests. Then they get the license to operate. Statuatory approvals are simply not seen any more challenging than any of the other hundreds of things they need to do before first gas.
I spoke with Henry Aldorf (damn, I sat next to him) and the EWC announcement basicly was part of the program regarding the equipment from Siemens et al. When the Phillipines said you're not going to export all that gas, the equipment over and above that to be used in this just announced Senkang project was the equipment identified to go to the IOC project. Henry said Siemen has been shut out of LNG by the big boy (GE, Bechtel? I've forgotten who he mentioned) and they wanted into that market in a bad way.
As for the viability of EWC as a partner, Phil said they had spoken to EWC's bankers on a number of occasions and there is no question the financing will be available when the time comes.
More comments next post.