Agiru challenges ExxonMobil to put PNG first in LNG project

National, Normal

SOUTHERN Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru has challenged ExxonMobil to reveal how much of the US$15 billion spent on LNG project will remain in the country.
Mr Agiru issued the challenge last Wednesday in a lunch briefing organised by ExxonMobil to brief MPs and ministers on the progress and also announced the contractors already engaged for the construction phase.
“ExxonMobil and its development partners must encourage joint ventures with landowner and PNG companies owned by locals. Without doing that there will no meaningful national content,” he said.
Mr Agiru said the local content plan by ExxonMobil only announced big overseas companies engaged but not joint-venture arrangements with landowners and PNG companies.
“I think ExxonMobil, Commerce and Industry, Department of Petroleum and Energy, National Planning, Treasury and IPBC must work together to ensure the National Content Plan is fully satisfied.
“I told the National Government that ExxonMobil will not wait if the government drags its feet and do not organise themselves.
“I also call on ExxonMobil to comply with section 129 of the Oil and Gas Act that relates to local purchase requirements,” he said.
Mr Agiru said the Oil and Gas Act was explicit on local purchase requirements.
He said, for example, ExxonMobil must buy trucks and vehicles from Boroko and Ela Motors, buy steel from the local steel industries and building and construction materials from PNG manufacturers.
“Section 129 of the Oil and Gas Act is a mandatory provision and ExxonMobil must not use tax exemptions to bring in materials that are readily available in the country.
“I call on the National Government to put its foot down on these issues,” Mr Agiru said.
He also called on ExxonMobil to comply with the provincial building and physical planning standards provided for by the Organic Law on Provincial and Local Level Government when it comes to resettlements of project landowners.
“When the resettlement scheme is on I do not want my people to be pushed around.
“The ExxonMobil proposal of K10,000 to landowners to build bush huts is not good enough.
“Papua New Guinea is a sovereign state so please respect our laws.
“My people are human beings and must be treated fairly.
“I will not tolerate them (ExxonMobil and JV partners) working outside of set standards and physical planning requirements,” Mr Agiru said.