Papua New Guinea's petroleum minister on Wednesday brushed aside claims that a multi-billion-dollar liquefied natural gas project was struggling to secure funding, telling AFP he had received assurances from partner TotalEnergies that things are on track.

Petroleum Minister Jimmy Maladina said the French energy giant was "very comfortable" about securing funding for the roughly US$12 billion Papua LNG project, despite European banks' increased reluctance to fund new fossil fuel projects.

Maladina said TotalEnergies was looking for financing options "worldwide", and he suggested non-governmental groups were "trying to influence European banks" to blacklist the project, but insisted they "have not been too successful."

French media recently reported Credit Agricole and a string of Australian and European banks were unwilling to invest.

The issue comes at a sensitive time for the project, with a final investment decision expected this year.

In all, Papua LNG would include several wells, a processing plant, a pipeline stretching hundreds of kilometres (miles) and liquefaction units.

Throughout its lifetime, the project is expected to produce the equivalent of about one billion barrels of oil, according to TotalEnergies.

It is seen as pivotal for the economic development of Papua New Guinea, one of the poorest countries in the Pacific.

But critics say that will only help pump yet more Earth-warming carbon into the atmosphere and stoke dependence on fossil fuels.

In a statement, TotalEnergies said that "for some years European banks have been under pressure not to finance any new fossil projects."

The firm said it was looking at possible lenders "mainly from the US or Asia" and that Credit Agricole continues to be a financial advisor to the project, coordinating the selection of would-be lenders.

"TotalEnergies and its partners are still actively progressing on financing," the company said.