Author Archives: ramunickel

ExxonMobil confirms machinery damage at PNG gas pipe project

Burnt out machinery. Photo EMTV

Photographs published by EMTV and other media have forced Exxon to reluctantly admit the damage

Reuters | 22 June 2018

ExxonMobil PNG confirmed on Friday that some heavy equipment had been damaged at its Angore gas pipeline construction project in Papua New Guinea amid ongoing tension in the Highlands Region of the South Pacific nation.

Papua New Guinea’s government declared a state of emergency in the Southern Highlands province a week ago and sent troops into the region after rioters went on a rampage protesting a failed court challenge to a provincial governor’s election.

Pictures on PNG’s EMTV Online earlier this week showed burnt out heavy machinery and a fire burning in a shipping container at the site in Angore.

“We confirm vandalism has occurred at Angore well pad A,” an ExxonMobil PNG spokeswoman said via email.

“ExxonMobil PNG is continuing to monitor tension in Angore in Hela Province,” she said.

The impact of the equipment damage on the project’s schedule of work was being assessed, the spokeswoman said.

Papua New Guinea’s deputy prime minister, Charles Abel, has called for a meeting with political leaders to discuss the problems at Angore, the country’s Post Courier newspaper reported on Friday.

He said the government is working to release royalties from PNG’s liquefied natural gas project (LNG) project to landowners but court disputes were holding up the release of funds.

The work at the Angore site is in support of the PNG LNG project, which was shut down for nearly two months after a deadly earthquake at the end of February.

The Highlands Region has long been the scene of unrest and protests, especially among landowners who have yet to receive payment from the government out of royalties on the $19 billion PNG LNG project, which shipped its first LNG four years ago.

“Violence is not the way to do it, sometimes we cut ourselves in the foot when we attack the very agencies that are trying to provide service to us,” the Post Courier cited Abel as saying.

Calls by Reuters to Abel’s office were answered by a message saying all phone lines to the area were busy.

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Australian company given green light to extract PNG coal

Mayur MD, Paul Mulder with Gulf Provincial Governor, Chris Havieta, signing an agreement in 2017

Radio New Zealand | 22 June 2018

An Australian company has been granted an environmental permit to extract coal in Papua New Guinea’s Gulf Province.

Mayur Resources has been given the green light to proceed with an exploration licence, owned by the company’s subsidiary in PNG, Waterford Ltd.

It’s the first time that the Conservation and Environmental Protection Authority (CEPA) has issued an environmental permit for coal bulk sampling in PNG to enable commercial grade shipments.

According to PNG Industry News, the conditions of the permit include the submission and implementation of a robust environmental management plan.

Managing director Paul Mulder said it was an exciting step in bringing PNG coal to the international market as a potential new source of energy.

The company was looking to confirm suitability of the coal for use in domestic power generation.

Mayur is also developing a proposed 50MW power station near Lae at the Western Tidal Basin in Morobe Province.

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China extends gas interests in Papua New Guinea

Once again Papua New Guinea’s rights and resources traded internationally with no government oversight or landowner consent… 

Repsol sells permits in Papua New Guinea

Rick Wilkinson | Oil and Gas Journal | 21 June 2018

Spanish firm Repsol SA will sell its exploration and development permits in Papua New Guinea to Chinese company Balang International. Repsol has not disclosed the transaction amount.

The nine permits—four exploration and five development—have been in Repsol’s portfolio since 2015.

They include 25% of offshore retention license PRL 38, which contains the Pandora gas fields in the Gulf of Papua, along with 35.1% in the Elevala-Ketu gas-condensate fields in retention license PRL 21, and the Stanley gas fields in nearby development license PDL 10.

Repsol acquired the assets as part of the package when it bought Talisman Energy Inc. for $13 billion in late 2014.

Repsol said the business in Papua New Guinea will continue to be operated by Repsol until the transaction is completed during this year’s fourth quarter.

Balang is part of the China Changcheng Natural Gas Power Group, which has investments in natural gas and power across China and the Asia Pacific region.

Balang Chairman Dai Ying Xiang said his company is committed to the development of the discovered resources within the permits which have the potential to foster and supply a new Papua New Guinea LNG project.

Development could include contributing gas to the proposed 1.5 million-tonne/year Western LNG project, which involves a processing facility near Daru Island on the coast near the mouth of the Fly River.

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New Wafi Golpu association is registered

On June 20, the Post Courier reported landowners from the Wafi-Golpu area in Morobe Province were ‘up in arms’ over a new association claiming to represent their interests.

Harmony Gold and Newcrest Mining are hoping to build a gold and copper mine in the area.

The leaders from three existing associations representing Hengambu, Yanta and Babuaf said the Wafi Golpu Area Landowners Association and its business arm, Wafi Golpu Holdings Limited had been formed by people from outside the area.

Contrary to what was reported in the Post Courier, the new association and business group are both registered with the Investment Promotion Authority.

The Wafi Golpu Area Landowners Association was registered on 8 November 2017 by Judah Jimmy. The objectives of the association are:

  1. To engage and encourage members in the community to participate in the association’s projects to protect their environment from destruction as well as to reduce the impact of environmental destruction caused by mining exploration and development
  2. To reduce unemployment in the mining communities by increasing the employment of youths and other members of the member communities.
  3. To liaise with funding agencies with the Government and non-government organizations both domestically and internationally for the benefit of the Association, it’s members and  it’s affiliates pursuance of the Association’s objectives.
  4. To conduct awareness in member communities on the adverse impacts of mining and mining related activities.
  5. To mobilize member communities in protecting their environment from the adverse impacts of mining and mining related activities.
  6. To  secure spin off business activities from mining and mining related  activities in member communities.
  7. To design, engage, implement and monitor business projects in the member communities.
  8. To prohibit the payment of any dividends or payment in the nature of dividends or distribution of any gains to the members thereof, rather divert all properties, assets,  profits and income of this association exclusively ‘for education, and other purposes only in promoting the objectives of the Association,

Wifi Golpu Holdings Limited was registered on 23 May 2018. It has four directors who are also the shareholders in the company. They are Nawae Boga, Defo Camillus, Bill Itamar and Holmes Kissing.

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Wafi-Golpu Landowners Up In Arms Over New Association

Post Courier  | June 20, 2018

THREE principal landowner groups of the Wafi-Golpu project in Morobe Province have clarified their position over the controversy surrounding a new association claiming to represent the interest of the project landowners.

The leaders of Hengambu Landowners Association, Yanta Development Association, and Babuaf Landowners Association met last week to address the issue.

The leaders said in a joint statement that the new association created by certain individuals (named) from one of the principal landowner villages and outsiders do not represent the interest of the principal landowner associations and the people the associations represent.

The leaders said the new association was formed by people from outside of the Wafi-Golpu special mining lease area.

They said the association which calls itself Wafi-Golpu Area Landowners Association and business entity Wafi-Golpu Holdings Limited were misleading the people of Morobe, PNG, and other stakeholders.

According to a senior officer from the provincial government, the new association and the business entity were not registered with Investment Promotion Authority.

The officer said the government’s stand was clear because it would only deal with the current legally recognised landowner associations.

The association presidents are also demanding that the names of both groups be changed.

Yanta Development Association president Genesis Siliwana said the name Wafi-Golpu belongs to the three principal landowner groups and not other groups.

“The name must not be used unless the group is under Yanta, Hengambu and Babuaf.

“If you want to set up an association or business group, do so under your own village, clan or tribe name.

“The association and the company names must be removed,” Mr Siliwana said.

Deputy president of Yanta Development Association Akioila Yaeng supported early published statements by president Paul Yanam that the new association does not represent the Hengambu people.

“The association is not supported by the Hengambu association and its people,” Mr Yaeng said.

The leaders said the association is not lawful and claims it was created for self interest.

President of Babuaf Landowners Association Thomas Nen said two people involved with the new association do not represent Babuaf.

The leaders are also warning businesses and other stakeholders not to deal with the two new groups.

“Beware that these groups are not part of us.

“You might end up losing money,” they said.

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Angore landowners set LNG machinery on fire in more PNG unrest

Charred machinery at the PD8 LPG development site in Hela province, PNG Highlands. Image: Michael Passingan/PNG News

Pacific Media Centre | 20 June 2018

In a show of frustration over the nonpayment of a business development grant, Angore landowners in Hela province have set fire to the massive Hides development LNG machinery on PDL 8 site as unrest continues in Papua New Guinea’s rugged Highlands region.

The destruction includes an excavator and a drilling machine while sections of a highway leading to PDL 8 have been dug up, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

In other developments:

  • Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Members of Parliament, including ministers, will travel to Mendi tomorrow to reinforce the work of the state of emergency team.
  • Local community leaders involved in the failed election petition which triggered the unrest travelled to Mendi today.
  • Police have 15 names to kickstart their investigations into last week’s Mendi rioting, says
    Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Operations David Manning.
  • O’Neill condemned calls for his resignation, saying the country needed strong leadership.

According to the Post-Courier’s Kevin Teme, local sources revealed that the Angore landowners – particularly from the PDL 8 site – are angry over their outstanding business development grant (BDG) which is kept in the trust and is not being released.

While the government has recently released K35 million as project security fees to Hides landowners of PDL 1 and PDL 4, the Angore landowners are frustrated over how Exxon Mobil and the state has dealt with this issue.

‘Rubbish’ claims
Spokesman Max Ekeya said various claims on social media about asking the Prime Minister to step down and others were rubbish as this was not the true information that caused the riot and burning down of the machinery at the PDL 8 site.

“The Angore landowners are showing their frustration because they have not got their BDG while other landowners from Hides PDL 1 and 4 just got K35 million as project security fees in which K20 million went to PDL 1 and K15million to PDL 4,” Ekeya said.

“The landowners are not asking the Prime Minister to step down, but are asking the government to release their business development grants,” Ekeya said.

Part of the excavated road in the Angore area. Image: Michael Passingan/PNG News

In a telephone interview with Tom Homake, a civil engineer with Hides Gas Development Company, he confirmed that all machines, including an excavator at the PDL 8 site, were burnt early yesterday.

“Information on setting alight the Eneria pipeline is not true and that’s just hear say. But I cannot confirm that,” Homake said when asked if the pipelines had also been set on fire.

“Other Hides areas, including the PDL 1 and PDL 4 up to PDL 7 area, are okay as I speak. We are on site doing a road projects from Takali to Komo and I can confirm that on ground,” Homake said.

Homake said this could change.

He said the Angore PDL 8 landowners were now asking the national government and Exxon Mobile to come and make their payment.

Plea for intervention
Meanwhile, spokesman Ekeya has called on the government to quickly intervene as he believes opportunists might take the law into their own hands and this may cause another destruction altogether.

Prime Minister O’Neill and MP plan to leave for Mendi tomorrow.

The Prime Minister expressed disappointment that the Southern Highlands provincial police commander had made statements outside his responsibility.

He urged police to carry out their duty in maintaining the rule of law and investigating offences without interference from politics.

“I am surprised that the PPC appears out of touch as reports are that he was not present in Mendi when the burning of state assets took place,” the Prime Minister said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Operations David Manning told the Post-Courier that at least 15 suspects in the rioting had already been identified to police and would be the subject of further investigation.

Manning said all suspects would be investigated indiscriminately and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“In the course of our investigation, we will be looking at all angles, because we need to ensure that anyone who had even the remotest involvement in the incident is investigated,” he said.

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Exxon Mobil ‘has shut down its operations’ – police

EMTV | June 19 2018

Hela Provincial Police Commander, Martin Lakari says Exxon Mobil has shut down its operations today (June 19), after landowners burnt heavy machinery in the early hours of this morning.

Lakari told EMTV News that this is a “landowner related issue.” 

The action is understood to be related to frustrations in a payment delay of a K35 million security fund by Exxon Mobil to landowners. The landowners are from Angore PDL 8 and Hides PDL 1 to 7 

Mr. Lakari said sections of road leading to the Hides Gas are blocked limiting police access. 

ExxonMobil has responded in a statement saying they are continuing to monitor ongoing tension in the Highlands. 

“We are investigating reports of vandalism relating to the Angore pipeline construction project. Host government security forces are in the area and also investigating. Our staff are all safe. 

“Production at the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant is continuing normally. ExxonMobil PNG is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with landowners, the government and the wider community.”

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