ExxonMobil Disappointed Over Threats To PNG LNG Project

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CEO claims subsidiary has exceeded commitments to partners

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 24) – ExxonMobil has expressed disappointment with Hela Governor Anderson Agiru who went directly to the media to raise his concerns about alleged failures by Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas (LNG) project proponents and the government.

Peter Graham, the CEO for the ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Highlands Limited said they were serious in any commitments they made relating to the PNG LNG project and it was a concern the MP chose to use the media instead of sitting down with them.

He said in their view they have met "if not exceeded" their commitments to the project as well as to partners such as the Hela province.

"I am extremely disappointed in Governor Agiru’s decision to raise these concerns through the media without any prior discussion with Esso Highlands Limited. EHL takes seriously any and all commitments we make. In our view, we have met, if not exceeded, our commitments. We have worked closely with Governor Agiru for many years to establish Hela province and successfully develop the PNG LNG project. I encourage Governor Agiru to engage with me face to face about any concerns he has, and I stand ready to discuss these with him," Mr. Graham said in a statement.

Mr. Agiru presented a petition on Monday to Richard Maru, minister for Commerce and Trade, which highlighted alleged failures by ExxonMobil and the PNG government to meet their obligations to build his new province.

These, among others included the construction of road infrastructure and the establishment of new townships, which had an estimated cost of about K2 billion [US$21.5 million].

He has given ExxonMobil and the PNG government 30 days to meet their obligations, in which time failure to do so could result in legal proceedings.

"Under Petroleum Resources Area Economic Corridor (PRAEC Subsidy Agreement). I am therefore giving 30 days statutory notice for the state and PNG LNG to address their obligations. Failing this, the Hela Provincial government shall institute legal proceeding," said the Governor.

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