Abal explains strict use of MoA funds

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MORE than K536 million in memoranda of agreement for petroleum projects areas in Southern Highlands have been paid since 2004 but no projects have eventuated, acting Prime Minister Sam Abal said yesterday.
Abal said cabinet had approved K100 million to fund projects under the MoA for oil projects.
He said there was a misunderstanding among gas and petroleum project landowners over the implementation of the MoA projects through the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) Ltd.
He said MoA funding “is not a fund for the landowners to use as it is intended for projects as agreed between the national government, provincial government and local level government for infrastructure projects in petroleum project areas”.
Abal said the petroleum projects that had existing memoranda of agreement, memoranda of understanding and development agreements with the state, provincial government and local level government were petroleum development licence (PDL) 2, Kutubu project, PDL 3&4, Gobe project, PDL 5 Moran and PDL 1 – Hides gas to electricity project – and not the PNG LNG project.
He said the petroleum projects that were being developed as part of the PNG LNG pro-ject were covered by the umbrella benefits sharing agreement (UBSA) and the licenced-based benefits sharing agreement (LBBSA).
The acting prime minister said those agreements had an annexure that outlined different infrastructure projects that the government would build.
He said the gas development licence did not have any outstanding MoA projects.
He said, previously, so much had been misused and “now with the cabinet’s decision, the K100 million approved will be managed and implemented by MRDC”.