Haiveta not happy with delay in paying landowners

The National aka The Loggers Times | May 16, 2018

Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta has called on Oil Search to own up to the fact that it fast-tracked processes in an effort to capitalise on the country’s resources while leaving the landowners stranded with little possibility of receiving royalties promptly.

He said company chairman Rick Lee was out of line during Friday’s annual general meeting in Port Moresby when discussing landowner groups and landowner identification processes.

“The entire reason we are now facing the issues with the delayed royalty payments is based squarely on Oil Search’s lack of ability to correctly communicate and inform both Exxon and the Government of their experience of the process and the requirements of the Oil and Gas Act,” Haiveta said in a statement.

“Oil Search must accept that they continue to generate enormous profits from PNG, they receive beneficial tax credits, yet they are trying to push the blame to the Government for their lack of corporate governance in managing the process when it comes to the landowner identification.

In a statement yesterday, Oil Search said an Australian Financial Review report which quoted Oil Search chairman Rick Lee as saying the PNG government was responsible for the payment of benefits from the PNG LNG venture was misleading and that the “words used in the articles also do not represent the views of Oil Search but those of the journalists concerned”.

Haiveta said: “The fast-track approach to commence the project then opened the doors to further confusion when they called for a new landowner identification process for existing brownfields petroleum development licences (PDLs) when there was already an existing gazetted landowner documentation in place. The determination was only required for the three new PDL’s including Hides 4, Angore, and Juha, plus three new blocks of Hides 1.

“The Government accepts that landowner identification process was always going to be complicated if this was not completed before the PNG LNG project commenced. The PNG LNG project should have never started without the gazetted landowners.

“Oil Search should not be concerned with how the royalties will be used and continuously calling for transparency.

“There is no issue with the transparency of funds; the Government will work closely with the correctly identified landowners to further improve the provinces and districts.”

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Filed under Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

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