Report and picture byANDREW ALPHONSE
A FACTION of the well head owners of the Angore gas project in Tari, Southern Highlands province, claimed yesterday that they did not sign the licence-based benefits sharing agreement (LBBSA) for the Angore PRL 11 project area on Monday.
Led by local councillor Jim Wage of Kupari village in Tari, the landowners held a press conference at the Tari Women’s Guest House yesterday to say that the LBBSA for Angore was never signed.
Cr Wage was supported by representatives of the seven major clans of the Undupi tribe that owns the well head at Angore.
They include Chief Loke Lupia (Imika clan), Cr Wake (Ebuni), Ben Tambo (Hari Ilabe), Henry Aki (Pai) and representatives from Telia, Halapura and Yaluma clans.
The group said they had registered their position papers with forum facilitator Michael Gene but had not been given the opportunity to meet with the State and PNG LNG project developer ExxonMobil.
The group also said that there was not enough time given by the State through the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) for the landowners to study the benefits outlined in the LBBSA, while the majority of the landowners who signed were illiterate villagers who could not understand anything written in the LBBSA agreement but just were forced to sign without knowing what they were signing.
Cr Wage said that on Monday afternoon, as the LBBSA signing for Angore was about to start, he stood up, grabbed the paper and tore it because he was not happy with the way the LBBSA signing was rushed and executed to meet the Dec 8 final investment decision (FID) deadline.