Central landowners discuss gas benefits

Main Stories, National

FOUR Motuan villages, the Hiri local level government (LLG) and the Central provincial government will decide whether to accept the proposals put forward in the licence-based benefits sharing agreement (LBBSA) forum that got under way in Port Moresby yesterday.
The LBBSA covers former portion 152 or portion 2456, 2457 and 2458 covering the villages of Papa, Boera, Porebada and Lealea which kick-started the LBBSA forum.
More that 200 villagers, LLG and provincial government representatives turned out at the Ben Moide Club at Murray Barracks to negotiate among themselves on the benefits put before them by the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE).
The licence-based development forums cover all persons affected by a Petroleum Development Licence (PDL), Pipeline Licence (PL) and Petroleum Processing Facility Licence (PPFL) who are invited to attend the particular licence-based forum.
In these forums, those affected will negotiate detailed benefits distribution and these agreements will become attached exhibits to the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA).
The terms agreed to at the UBSA forum held in Kokopo also apply to the agreements to be signed at LBBSA forums.
There are no new, additional commitments or benefits to be offered by the Government at the LBBSA.
The Kokopo UBSA, according to DPE officials, was the slaughtering of the pig for mumu, the LBBSA is how that pig will be shared among landowners, LLGs and provincial governments.
The Kokopo forum agreed to 2% royalty totalling K5.39 billion, 2% development levy totalling K5.39 billion, 2% equity totalling K5.21 billion and project grants that will be shared by landowners, LLGs and provincial governments.
The pipeline landowners and plant area landowners will get 28% of the total 2% of royalty, development levy and equity.
The LBBSA, which got under way yesterday, was for the landowners and the provincial government to decide how these will be divided among them.
Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma officially opened the forum that was attended by the managing director of Esso Highlands, senior executives of PNG LNG project operator ExxonMobil and its joint venture partners, particularly Oil Search.
The LBBSA came amid a number of landowners from Western and Southern Highlands seeking a court injunction to block the LBBSA from going ahead.
Mr Duma offered a word of caution to landowners who wanted to derail the LBBSA that there is a fine line where the investor wants to commit its investment dollar within a given time-frame.
“The investor will not and must not be made to wait while we carry on with this debate.
“It is time now for all of us – landowners, provincial and national government to decide whether ExxonMobil and its partners should invest billions of dollars here or go elsewhere,” Mr Duma said.
“You must strive for a win-win situation for all project impacted clans and the State expects that you will deliver a signed Benefits Sharing Agreement at the end of this forum.”
He said ExxonMobil would not make any final investment decision until all licence-based agreements were signed and sealed.