By GYNNIE KERO
PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Dr Fabian Pok says landowners at the PNG LNG plant site in Central will be paid K15.6 million this week.
Pok also told highlands landowners from the pipeline and upstream areas that the royalty due to them was still with the Central Bank awaiting the conclusion of the clan-vetting process. He made these comments in a statement last week.
Pok said funding had been secured for the clan-vetting exercise which should start next month.
“The first royalty payment for the project will be made to the plant site project area landowners (this week),” he said.
“In announcing that, I understand the long-standing issues with regards to the royalty and equity-benefit payments to the landowners in upstream, pipeline and plant site. Those issues are complex and have been going on for many years.
“I met leaders in Hela last week and I have heard their concerns.
“The Department of Finance records show that the total amount held in the Bank of Papua New Guinea is K153mil. As per the UBSA, the downstream landowners (plant, pipeline) will get 28 per cent of the K153mil. Of the amount, pipeline landowners will get 48 per cent and plant site 52 per cent. The 52 per cent amounts to K15.6mil, which has been released to the MRDC for disbursement.
“My ministry is committed to conducting clan vetting for pipeline and petroleum development licensed area beneficiaries.
“I have secured funding from the State for this exercise. I also have the support of the operator ExxonMobil and other key stakeholders such as Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd and MRDC. The process will start in October.
“I want to assure the pipeline and upstream landowners that their royalty is still parked at the central bank and will not be touched until the landowner identification process is completed.
“I now appeal to the landowners to support the department in ensuring the conclusion of the clan-vetting process for me to make proper and formal ministerial determination so benefits can flow to the clans.”
By GYNNIE KERO