Tag Archives: Philip Undialu

Hela governor hits out at LNG project developers

ExxonMobil’s LNG Project cuts a swathe of ‘development’ through Hela province in PNG’s Highlands. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Governor: “corporate giants bullied PNG politicians into a substandard agreement”

Radio New Zealand | 16 May 2018

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s Hela province has criticised developers of the LNG gas project over lack of payments to his province.

Philip Undialu said when establishing the project, corporate giants bullied PNG politicians into a substandard agreement.

The Governor said Provincial Governments of the LNG Project area lost nearly US$240 million in Development Levies and Royalties over the last four years.

Mr Undialu said there were hundreds of millions more dollars in royalties which Hela people should have been paid.

He called on lead developer ExxonMobil and its project partner Oil Search to admit this failure and pay Hela what belongs to its people, saying the province desperately needs money after February’s major earthquake.

His comments come after the Oil Search chairman said community discontent and violence around the project was not his company’s fault but a result of the PNG government’s failure to distribute royalties.

“It is pathetic for Chairman of Oil Search to attack the Government after robbing it’s people through a flawed agreement the Somare Government facilitated between 2008 to 2010,” Mr Undialu said.

“It’s by time we take everything back to round table and ascertain who is to be blamed.

“This is a human rights issue and I will not allow my people being deprived of. I need those monies to rebuild infrastructure devastated by the earthquake disaster… so we will rebuild our communities.”

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Hela Government casts doubt on PNG Earthquake Report

ONE PNG | The National | 20 March 2018

Hela Governor Philip Undialu has cast doubt on an Australian government report which cleared resource companies of blame for the recent earthquake.

The report by Australian government agency Geoscience Australia cleared mining and hydrocarbon companies of any wrongdoing over the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which caused much devastation in the Highlands. Undialu and Hela provincial administrator William Bando were given copies of the report by Oil Search staff in Moro last Saturday.

He said an independent investigation must be conducted into the earthquake under the terms of reference of the Hela government.

The report said there was significant public concern that industrial activities such as mining or hydrocarbon exploration and production in the Highlands, could have contributed to the earthquake.

The report said:

“While the Feb 26 earthquake was the largest earthquake in the Highlands since 1900, its occurence was consistent with the known seismic characteristics of the region;

“The high frequence of earthquakes in this region is due to natural tectonic processes that have been recognised by many geological studies of the region over the past half-century;

“The size of the earthquake and intensity of the ground shaking of this event are consistent with the regional plate tectonics that have formed the New Guinea Highlands over millions of years;

“The depth at which this earthquake started (17km or more) is not consistent with earthquakes triggered through mining or hydrocarbon and extraction activities, which generally occur at depths less than 5km; and “The Feb 26 earthquake is highly unlikely to have been triggered through mining or hydrocarbon exploration and extraction activities.”.

Meanwhile,  Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has commended the partnership between the Government, private sector and development partners towards the relief efforts after the recent earthquake.

He told the PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby the earthquake was the worst PNG had experienced.

“The disaster has been terrible but I have no doubt that we will recover and we will further promote the industry in our country,” he said.

“We’ve seen an ongoing rise in the prices in oil and gas which has been good. But we have seen the worst earthquake that hit the Highlands region in nearly 100 years.

“The scale of this disaster is substantial and the impact on the local community is devastating.

“We still haven’t got the final confirmed death toll but we know it is well over 150 lives lost.

“There still remains a high risk threat of diseases to be present and the aftershocks are continuing.

“Working together with the private sector, our development partners, and the governments of Australian, New Zealand and China for the swift and effective response to the disaster.

“I thank the private sector for their outstanding contribution to this effort, in particular Oil Search who have demonstrated their commitment to our people, swinging into action very early just after the earthquake struck.

“This response has saved lives and continued to give hope to the people in the disaster area who are scared and confused.”

O’Neill also acknowledged ExxonMobil, Mineral Resources Development Company, Defence Force, Australia and New Zealand governments and other partners.

O’Neill commended Ok Tedi and Kumul Petroleum Holdings, both donated K50 million (US$15 million) each.

“I am very encouraged by the partnership. There is no doubt that we will continue to enhance this so we can support many of the affected communities for years to come,” O’Neill said.

The participants observed a two-minute silence for those who lost their lives during the earthquake.

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Call For Investigation Into Cause Of Quake

Hela Governor Philip Undialu is calling for an independent inquiry 

Post Courier | March 7, 2018

The Hela provincial government has asked for an independent group to look into the cause of the earthquake.

Governor Philip Undialu said that the call was made after those affected by the earthquake asked the provincial government to look into the cause of the disaster.

Mr Undialu said that the sudden earthquake was undetected by disaster relief offices both in PNG and abroad. “Hela Provincial government will support the call from the Hela people especially victims of the earthquake to look into the cause of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

“We know, the country needs this project but we owe it to the people especially the victims.

“More than 50 people died, hundreds got injured, many made homeless. I’ve been on the ground since day two of the earthquake and am devastated with the extent of damage done here,” Mr Undialu said.

He said that though he appreciated the assistance they were receiving from the National Government, ExxonMobil and Oil Search towards the victims, they wanted this call to be taken seriously.

“Our long-term relationship will very much depend on the findings. I don’t want the projects resumes to resume operation until the companies are cleared of suspicion of any responsibility,” he said.

People are suspicious that the operator of PNGLNG project or anyone of the drilling companies may have used “Hydraulic Fracturing” or “fracking” method of drilling or waste water disposal that may have destabilised the rock structure beneath, he added. The suspicion is based on the following facts:

1. The epicentre of the earthquake is within the project areas of Hides, Angore, Juha, and Moran areas. We lost more than 50 lives in those areas. We saw massive landslips within the area especially along the Tagali river which is within the project area.

2. The earthquake was not detected by disaster monitoring group in PNG and abroad. There is history or any prediction on such earthquake.

3. The earthquake shockwaves continue for almost seven days and we are uncertain about the future.

4. No one, including the National Disaster Office, has any good answers on this issue. Some are saying, we are within the Pacific Rink of Fire. A geologist predicted it could be mountain building process whilst others blaming companies for using fracking methods. We are confused who to blame, Mr Undialu said.

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