Landowners Of PNG Gas Project Frustrated With Lack Of Payment

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LNG exports have yet to produce royalty benefits for Hela people

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 12, 2015) – After more than 6 million tones of shipments to date, landowners as custodians of the multi-billion kina PNG LNG project, still have not received their equity and royalty benefits. As a result, both upstream and downstream landowners along the 700 kilometers LNG pipeline corridor route between Hides gas conditioning plant sites in Hela province, to the liquification and storage facility at Papa Lealea outside Port Moresby are impatient and frustrated.

In Port Moresby yesterday, under the blistering heat, Boera villagers of Portion 152 near Papa Lealea LNG storage facility, expressed their frustration at the delay tactics employed by government agencies, the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) and Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) in expediting their LNG benefits. Mr Muri Henao, chairman of the Boera village clan heads, flanked by Ula Avei (Iduata Gubarea 3 2 clan), Gomara Ganiga (Tubumaga clan), Rei Honokae (Nenehi clan), Mrs Lucy Alesa (president of Boera women’s association) and Mr Moi Miria (Iduata SInalai clan) said they have completed all the requirements as per the oil and gas act (O&GA) to receive their benefits but they are confused and forever waiting when they will be paid.

"They promised us that as soon as we export the first LNG cargo, we (landowners) will get our benefits.

"More than 100 LNG cargoes have now being exported and where is our royalty and equity payments ?" Mr Henao said.

Mr Henao said one prerequisite to obtain their benefits is the clan vetting and land owner identification exercise which they completed successfully in Nov 2014 witnessed by DPE officials. Mr Henao said they supported the moves last week by frustrated Moran landowners in Hela to shut down the Moran oil head project for the same reason, non- payment of outstanding LNG benefits. Mr Henao said his 4000 petroleum processing facility landowners (PPFL) from Boera villagers that includes 10 stock clans and four sub-clans are now ‘confused and frustrated’ as nearly every week, they frequent the DPE and MRDC offices in Port Moresby, only to be given the ‘forever and endless wait’ response. MRDC managing director Augustine Mano last month said MRDC needed a formula and that is the clan vetting and land landowner identification exercise, before they make the payments, adding that it is DPE’s responsibility to facilitate these exercises. Mr Mano said currently, no payments had being made and the benefits are still held in trust.

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