IRVING, Texas (


) --

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and its partners have agreed to proceed with a $15 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea.

Exxon said late Monday the project is pending completion of sales and purchase agreements with LNG buyers and finalization of financing arrangements with lenders. Construction is expected to begin next year.

"With global demand for LNG forecast to nearly triple by 2030, the PNG LNG Project will be an important supply source to meet this future demand, particularly for the economies in the fast growing Asia Pacific region," said Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development, in a statement.

Exxon, which has a 33.2% interest, said the project includes gas production and processing plants, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities with capacity of 6.6 million tons a year. Partners in the project include

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Nippon Oil

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PNG LNG has signed binding agreements for the sale of a combined 3.8 million tonnes a year of LNG to

China Petroleum & Chemical


Tokyo Electric Power


Dow Jones Newswires


-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York


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