Angry Tribal Landowners Have Halted Operations Of The $20B PNG Natural Gas Project

Landowners infuriated by prolonged delay by the National Government in paying their benefits in equity and royalty

By Andrew Alphonse

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 09, 2016) – Operations of the US$20 billion PNG LNG Project in the Hides area of Hela Province has come to a standstill as of Sunday.

Angry landowners, frustrated over the prolonged delay by the National Government in paying their benefits in equity and royalty, have taken siege of the entire LNG operations.
 
Hiwa tribe landowner leader from Hides PDL 1 Moses Mekeya said by telephone from Hides yesterday that thousands of angry landowners have turned off the taps of the existing Well Pads G, C and B.
 
He said the landowners have also blocked the main gates to the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant while trees have been felled to build barricades along the access road to the plant sites.
 
He said all access roads leading to Hides have also being dug out to prevent accessibility while LNG project operator ExxonMobil (PNG) Ltd staff are holed up inside their camps for fear of their lives.
 
Mekeya said the Spine line Access Road that connects the well pads A to H are also being blocked with fallen logs and boulders all along the way.
 
Mr Mekeya said last night heavily armed landowners held up six security guards at Well Pad G at Hides PDL 1 and asked them to leave the premises or else they would meet the inevitable. The guards were then abducted and dumped later at Hides.
 
Mr Mekeya said the more than 200 police mobile squad and security personnel deployed by ExxonMobil to provide security to the project sites are outnumbered, out-gunned and powerless.

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