Royalties on track: Pok

National

By GYNNIE KERO
THE Government has resumed the task of identifying landowners, particularly in the pipeline (Gulf and Southern Highlands) and upstream (Hela) areas of the PNG LNG project.
Petroleum Minister Dr Fabian Pok said once the landowner beneficiary identification (LOBID) process was completed, landowners would receive their royalty payments of more than K150 million deposited at the central bank.
Teams from the department left for one of the sites this week to begin the exercise.
“My department started the LOBID process in 2013-2015. Substantial work has been done in various licence areas,” Pok said.
“The current exercise which starts this week aims to conclude it. We appeal to all landowners and leaders to assist with the LOBID process so that the benefits distribution can commence as was done at the LNG plant site (in Central).
“We also encourage the landowners to withdraw any legal proceedings that are currently on-foot. Other landowners who might be contemplating new proceedings should not do so.
“We are looking at a minimum of four weeks to complete the LOBID process.”
Pok said landowners of the Papua LNG project would have to be identified before the project could begin.
Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd managing director Wapu Sonk clarified that court cases that halted the landowner identification process in recent years did not directly involve royalties.
“All court cases we talked about are really on BDGs (business development grants), IDGs (infrastructure development grants), high impact projects, those side benefits,” he said.
“The core benefits from the project are royalties, development levy and free-carried equity that is managed by the Mineral Resource Development Company.”

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