The National aka The Loggers Times | April 11, 2019
NORTH Fly MP James Donald, pictured, has called on the Government to review the Oil and Gas Act before it signs agreements on petroleum resource development.
Donald said certain provisions of the Oil and Gas Act 1998 did not serve or protect the interests of Papua New Guineans, especially the project area landowners, and should be amended.
For example, he said the legislation failed to provide for the landowners, provincial governments and local level governments to be involved in the consultations and negotiations right up to the finalisation of the agreement.
Donald said they were key stakeholders even though they only owned a 2 per cent stake in equity when it came to benefits distribution.
“The landowners are given 2 per cent under the current act, which is less when what they should be rightfully getting – 10 to 12 per cent equity or more,” Donald said.
“So really when you look at it closely, it (the current Act) is of no real benefit to Papua New Guinea landowners, the host provincial governments and local level governments.”
He said the 2 per cent equity for landowners should be increased.
“Why continue to keep a law that does not serve our people’s interest?” Donald said.
He called on the ministers for petroleum and energy to work on amending certain sections of the legislation before going ahead with agreements on gas development. He said if not amended, the current legislation would only cause problems for future projects.
“In my view, our government should review and amend the law to give better deal for our people in terms of resource ownership by law because they deserve better from their government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Donald has written to the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission to support him in sponsoring a Private Member’s bill to review and amend certain provisions of the Oil and Gas Act.