Tag Archives: LNG

PNG LNG Willl Not Be Another Bougainville Crisis: Duban

The Mention Of Another Bougainville Civil War , As A Result In The Delay In The Payment Of The PNG LNG Project, As Speculated In The Debates In Australia In The Past Few Days “Is Nonsense And Unwarranted”.

Post Courier | June 14, 2017

The mention of another Bougainville civil war , as a result in the delay in the payment of the PNG LNG project, as speculated in the debates in Australia in the past few days is nonsense and unwarranted.
Petroleum Minister Nixon Duban was responding to questions put to him by the Post-Courier, on Tuesday, pertaining to reports carried in the overseas media on this issue.
While also in light of reports that had surfaced over the weekend of a planned protest by aggrieved landowners from the Central Province.
The protest did not eventuate at the plant site outside of Port Moresby.
However, the issue of royalty payouts to landowners came under the spotlight in Australia when questions were raised, by one of its senators as to why the Australian government through its Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) had not taken measures to ensure royalty payments were made.
The minister had expressed disappointment that some senior politicians had joined in the chorus inciting fear in the whole debate, reminding them that they were part of the O’Neill government until recently.
He had reiterated that the main reason for the delay of payment in the early payment of landowner benefits, was that many legitimate landowners had not been identified in the project area in Hela.
Mr Duban said PNG LNG project has a lifespan of over 50 years.
He said the landowners were fully aware and would not destroy something that would sustain their livelihood and that of the generation to come.
“Bougainville stemmed out from serious discontentment over what was poorly structured landowner benefits package.”
“PNG LNG landowners are given a much better deal with the foundation LNG project showing significant signs of expansion.
“I believe the growth potential will come with new opportunities and improved better deals for PNG and our landowners,” he said.
He assured investors and stakeholders that the project was in safe hands.

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Spotlight on Australian govt financing role in LNG Project

“So the Australian tax payer’s getting paid and the population of PNG is not”

Radio New Zealand | 13 June, 2017

The Australian government’s Export Finance Insurance Corporation has been questioned in the senate about its role in Papua New Guinea’s LNG Project.

EFIC’s US$350 million loan to the PNG LNG Project was the biggest ever foreign loan made by Australia’s government.

There’s been particular scrutiny applied to EFIC’s response to the non-payment of royalties to LNG Project landowners.

PNG’s LNG Project, lead operated by ExxonMobil, has been successfully shipping annual exports worth billions of dollars since 2014.

However landowners in the project area say they have not been paid royalties promised them under the project’s founding agreement, estimated to total US$300 million.

Western Australia’s Senator Scott Ludlam took EFIC to task over why it had not taken measures to ensure payments were made.

“So I understand that, May 2017, the 300th shipment of LNG left Port Moresby, but the payment of royalties owed to landowners under benefit sharing arrangements hasn’t even begun,” he said.

EFIC’s director of environmental and technical review, Jan Parsons, told the senator royalties were not its responsibility.

“It’s the benefits, the royalties as you say, which only started flowing after LNG gas started being exported.”

“That is the part which is managed by the government, and the project has no role in that, legally or morally, if you like,” he said.

“And my understanding of the problem that’s holding up the distribution of those payments is identifying the actual people who should be receiving the payments.”

Senator Ludlam sensed EFIC was trying to distance itself from its project obligations, by identifying royalties as strictly a government matter.

“It’s easy to say that it’s not a project matter. But landholders have been dispossessed. They’ve been told that they’d be paid out.”

“There’s an amount of benefits which I understand is in the range of 400 million Australian dollars which hasn’t actually hit the ground. And this thing is busy exporting PNG LNG over the horizon.”

According to PNG’s Treasurer for the past three years, Patrick Pruaitch, the identification process Mr Parsons referred to, or clan vetting, should have been completed well before the first LNG shipment left PNG’s shores.

Mr Pruaitch admitted the Peter O’Neill-led government, of which he had been a key member until recent weeks, had failed to resolve this issue.

Jan Parsons would only offer that the Project was trying to help the government in identifying the landowners who should receive the royalties

“And in speeding up the payments, because it’s in the Project’s interests. But that’s something the project is doing, not as a legal matter, but being a good neighbour, if you like.”

Senator Ludlum mentioned reports of an arms build-up and escalating tensions among landowners in the region where LNG Project’s well heads are based, the Highlands province of Hela.

“When does the Commonwealth start to get its money back?

EFIC”s chief credit officer John Pacey stepped in to answer the question

“Repayments have already commenced.”

“So the Australian tax payer’s getting paid and the population of PNG is not. That seems a little peverse,” Mr Pacey said. 

“What are the risks to Australia being repaid if we end up with another Bougainville on our hands through civil unrest, armed or otherwise, in the impact area where people are likely pretty pissed off that they’re 400 million dollars short of the royalties that they’re owed?”

Export Finance Insurance Corporation wouldn’t be drawn on impacts of a “hypothetical” situation, telling the senator it had evaluated risks of the project, but not specifically about the potential for armed conflict in relation to the project.

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Landowners threaten to shutdown LNG Operations

NBC News | PNG Today | June 12, 2017

Landowners in the Central Province are set to close down the PNG LNG site on today over unpaid compensations demands since 2014.

They held a meeting with representatives from operator ExxonMobil, Department of Petroleum and Energy, PNG Ports and Police yesterday.

The meeting was to stop the people, comprising four beneficiary villages of Papa, Lealea, Boera and Porebada from staging their protest.

However, landowner spokesman and Association Secretary, Robert Kauga said, their minds are made up and they won’t back down on their decision to carry out the protest until the government pays them their outstanding royalties and equities.

Mr. Kauga said the people are already fed up with the continuous lies and promises of payment by the government.

“They are admonishing us not to stage the protest but we cannot back down now, we have already prepared everything,”he said.

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Government Given 14 Day Ultimatum

Lynette Kil | Post Courier | June 7, 2017

The four LNG landowner villagers – Papa, Boera, Rearea and Porebada have given the government  a 14 day ultimatum to response to their petition.

“The government must address the issue of royalty and equity payments, the land mobilisation funds and the alleged illegal appointment of chairman of PNG LNG Plant Site,” said Boera Heritage Association president Muri Henao.

The landowners in the PNG LNG Project plant site have urged the government to start campaigning on changes for itself then for the people.

Henao made this remark during a press conference organised by the LNG Plant Landowners Association Inc .

Henao said the people have not experienced any changes in the community and landowners are still suffering.

“I really don’t know what the government is campaigning about as we have been betrayed.

“Our money was used to host the Pacific leader’s summit and cater for the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic summit, what will the government give to its people,” he said.

Henao expressed disappointment over non compliance from the office of the Chief Secretary Isaac Lupari of numerous letters concerning the landowner’s grievances.

Other representatives from the affected landowners’ villagers share the same sentiments and are demanding that the government respond to their petitions within 14 days.

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ExxonMobil employee held hostage in PNG’s Hela province

Extractive industries bring upheavals to Papua New Guinea communities: earth-moving underway for the ExxonMobil-led Liquefied Natural Gas project in Hela Province. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Radio New Zealand | June 5, 2017

A scientist working for ExxonMobil in Papua New Guinea was held hostage last week by armed tribesmen in Hela Province who wanted police to release a local warlord.

The men, who were carrying home-made firearms, abducted the woman from the vicinity of the Komo airfield on Friday as they were on their way to the Tari police station to demand the release of their kinsman.

The police commander for Hela province Michael Welly said the woman was held for two hours at the most before being released.

“The hostage takers went into the camp, got this female employee and held her hostage and demanded that police release the suspect so my men had to give in to their demand and release the suspect who initially had the home-made firearm on him,” said Superintendent Welly.

“We know those suspects involved in the hostage situation. We know their identity. We will have them arrested soon.”

Superintendent Welly confirmed that the woman, an employee of Exxon Mobil, is an environmental scientist with the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and that she was from coastal PNG.

LNG Project facility, Hela Province, Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Exxon Mobil praised the police handling of the incident.

“Exxon Mobil is taking very seriously the abduction of one member of its staff in the vicinity of Komo airfield on Friday,” said an ExxonMobil spokesperson.

“We are relieved to say that the incident was resolved quickly and that all our staff are safe.”

The company said the issue was not directly related to PNG LNG activities.

“We continue to encourage constructive dialogue as the means to resolving tensions.

“Exxon Mobil PNG is committed to maintaining a positive relationship with landowners, the government and the wider community,” said the company spokesperson.

PNG security forces parade at the launch of the election security operation in Mt Hagen. Friday 26 May 2017. Photo: PNG EMTV online

Michael Welly said it was an isolated incident and not related to the upcoming national elections, which have prompted a beefing up of security in the province in recent months.

He said there were strategies in place to deal with aniticipated security issues in Hela during and after polling which starts on 24 June and is scheduled to run over two weeks.

“I am hoping that the response unit that is going to be deployed into Hela province is done soon enough so that I can strategically locate them in the hot spot areas that I think we need to maintain for the smooth running of the elections,” said Michael Welly.

Mr Welly said the response unit had been gearing up in Mt Hagen over the weekend in preparation for deployment from Tari.

He said he was hoping to get two police mobile squads and two platoons of defence force personnel for the election period.

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Call for extra security in Hela before PNG elections

The spectre of tribal fighting is a constant in Papua New Guinea’s Hela province where villages are typically protected by trenches and tightly guarded gates. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Radio New Zealand | 14 April 2017

There’s an urgent need for bolstered security in Papua New Guinea’s Highlands province of Hela, according to its deputy governor.

Thomas Potobe’s comment comes after a military and police callout to a province plagued by tribal conflict and a build-up of high-powered firearms.

The late December callout saw 300 police and military personnel deployed to the region which is central to the country’s US$19-billion LNG gas project.

As the callout wound down last month, police and Hela authorities admitted its corresponding guns amnesty was only a partial success.

Mr Potobe warned that since the last elections in 2012 tribal tensions in the area have worsened.

“And this time I think there’ll be fighting all over the place in the province,” Mr Potobe said. “But last year we had big fights in the province and at the moment now we cannot manage it.

“It’s very important, we need more security personnel on the ground.”

Last month, PNG’s police Commissioner Gary Baki floated the idea of recruiting hundreds of ex-servicemen to Hela to help address the lawlessness and fighting.

Mr Potobe said the plan was requested by the Hela provincial government, but it was clear that neither provincial or national government had the money to pay for this.

He has confirmed fears that lingering tension in and around the provincial capital could escalate again.

“Not only in Tari but also the Highlands around. We need more security on the ground, including Tari,” he said.

“The view of the province, and the electorate, for me, it does not look good for the new elections.”

The elections period officially starts later this month with two months of campaigning before a two-week polling period commencing in late June.

Last month, Mr Baki told RNZ International that in a change from previous polls, provincial police commands, rather than national headquarters would coordinate policing in each province during elections.

But he insisted there would be extra provision made for additional police presence in security hot-spots such as Hela.

Echoing this, the government’s chief secretary Isaac Lupari said that securing the LNG project area remained a priority, suggesting an increased police deployment in coming weeks was possible.

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New threat to LNG project from disgruntled landholders

Hides LOs shut gates to power plant, camp site

Post Courier | April 12, 2017

Disgruntled landowners of the Hides gas to power plant have blocked the road and closed the gates to the power plant at Yuni and Oil Search camp at Nogoli yesterday over non-payment of royalties.

According to landowners from Hides, led by Peter Potape, the landowners are frustrated and had enough of the state’s promises, and have threatened to disrupt all operations if the government continues to mislead them.

He said the people are frustrated over the delay in the payment of the royalty for the gas to electricity project for the past four years, and have decided to block off all access to the main camp site at Nogoli and the Yuni power plant site, to get the government to listen to their demands before going into the elections.

Mr Potape said the landowners also want the state to review the Hides gas to power memorandum of agreement to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to the project that is well over due since 1992.

He said the landowners also want the payment of the K35 million as project security as agreed through an understanding signed in August 2016.

The landowners are calling on the State to address the issue as failure to do so will have serious consequences on the PNG LNG project and the Hides gas to power project.

Similar calls have also been made by the Moran oilfield landowners.

Oil Search Limited when contacted did not respond.

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