Prime Minister Danny Philip yesterday visited the multi billion-dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) base outside Port Moresby as he winds up his official visit to Papua New Guinea.

The LNG project has the potential to transform PNG's economic landscape, boosting GDP and export earnings, providing a major increase in Government revenue and providing a catalyst to further gas-based industry development.

The LNG Project poses a challenge for the PNG Government as it struggles to find qualified and skilled workers to fill tens of thousands of jobs that are being created.

It is understood thousands of foreign workers have been brought into PNG to fill the shortfall.

In their discussions yesterday, Prime Minister Philip and his host, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, touched on the urgent need to meet the acute shortfall in skilled labour, agreeing it is a challenge for Melanesia.

Prime Minister O'Neill said that PNG does not have the capacity to fill the new jobs being created adding that Melanesian countries "should take advantage of the job opportunities."

"Preference should be given to our own peoples," he said referring to Melanesia as a sub regional grouping in the Pacific.

PNG LNG is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities in the Southern Highlands and Western Provinces of Papua New Guinea, including liquefaction and storage facilities (located northwest of Port Moresby on the Gulf of Papua) with capacity of 6.6 million tons per year. There are over 700 kilometers (450 miles) of pipelines connecting the facilities.

The investment for the initial phase of the Project, excluding shipping costs, is estimated at US$15 billion. Over the life of the Project, it is expected that over nine trillion cubic feet of gas will be produced and sold.