Press Statement - Niue has sealed its support for the Pacific Petroleum Project.

In signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining a model by which Forum Island Countries may tap into the project, Niue's Minister for Bulk Fuels, the Honourable Togia Sioneholo remarked that substantial gains are expected from this important initiative.

Niue signed the MoU at the Pacific Energy Ministers' Meeting held last month in Tonga, cementing its commitment in identifying viable means of accessing the global markets, particularly as a smaller island state.

"Tapping into the Pacific Petroleum Project makes clear sense to Niue," says Hon Togia Sioneholo. "Converging as a region appears to be the only viable means of achieving greater leverage in a global market to achieve better value for money for petroleum procurement."

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders agreed, through the Pacific Plan adopted at Port Moresby in October 2005, and in discussions since, to undertake a joint negotiation process for the bulk procurement of petroleum to address their shared concerns about energy affordability and security.

At the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers' Meeting held in October 2008, Nauru, Tuvalu and the Cook Islands signed the MoU launching the Pacific Petroleum Project.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, in addressing the Pacific Energy Ministers' Meeting, remarked that equitable access to reliable and affordable energy is a fundamental requirement for achieving national development.

"Energy is, inexorably, linked to the condition of human well being," said Mr Slade. "Our resources in fundamental areas such as energy should be accessed and managed in a coordinated way where possible ensuring a 'whole-of-region' position to better realise our common interests."

Mr Slade congratulated Niue on keeping up the momentum of this vital regional initiative.

The Pacific Petroleum Project, among other things, aims to pool Forum Island Country resources to improve negotiation for petroleum supply contracts, leverage purchasing power and minimise transaction costs for procurement activities.