Rebecca Kuku | The National aka The Loggers Times | 25 July 2019
THE Public Accounts Committee wants to know where the proceeds from the multi-billion kina PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are.
It has therefore given the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL) two weeks to provide the committee with information on the aggregate income generated from more than 500 shipments of LNG to overseas buyers since the first one in 2014.
Committee chairman Sir John Pundari, said they wanted KPHL to explain:
- How much has been has been made so far from the export of the liquefied natural gas;
- How much of that money had been given to the State and landowners;
- how much has been given to the provincial government of the affected areas for development and infrastructure; and,
- How much was used on KPHL’s cost of operation.
Sir John said people had the right to know how much was made from the shipments of LNG and where the money was right now.
“KPHL is not a private business. It is not your money or my money,” he said.
“It is the people’s money. So why are we being secretive? KPHL belongs to the people and the Public Accounts Committee has the mandate to enquire.”
But KPHL board chairman Andrew Baing said it was a government business governed by its own legislations and was not subjected to the Public Finance Management Act as the other state-owned enterprises.
Baing said yesterday that he had said all he needed to say on the matter.
“I will comment later in the week after I consult my office and lawyers,” he said.
The committee wants KPHL to provide all the information by August 7, failing which officials will be summoned before the committee.
The first shipment of LNG from ExxonMobil PNG Ltd’s US$19 billion PNG LNG project left the country on May 25, 2014, carrying a cargo bound for Japan.
It was reported at that time that the cargo had been sold on the spot market to Tokyo Electric Power Company Inc.
Since then over 500 shipments of liquefied natural gas had been made.
The committee published a notice this month on its intention to hold an inquiry into the operations of KPHL.