ExxonMobil, operator of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea, is nearing agreement on sales with three major buyers in Asia, putting the project on track for a final investment decision later this year.

According to Reuters, the sale of 4.3m tpy, plus an earlier 2m tpy deal, would mean the project was fully contracted for its proposed total output, cementing its frontrunner status among a dozen competing LNG hopefuls in the region.

ExxonMobil said its subsidiary Esso Highland Ltd has $quot;reached alignment on commercial terms$quot; with three major LNG customers in Asia for long-term LNG sales.

In a statement the company said, $quot;Exclusive discussions will commence with these customers to finalise binding sales and purchase agreements to establish the project's foundation customers.$quot;