Esso wants court to dismiss case

Main Stories, National

A SUPREME Court decision regarding an appeal by LNG developer Esso Highlands against an earlier court ruling regarding legitimacy of their initial agreement with landowners has been reserved and will be delivered at a later date.
The Supreme Court in Waigani in the National Capital District last Friday heard the appeal by Esso against the court decision that prevented it from dismissing a landowner case brought by Simon Ekanda and other landowners.
The case is over the legitimacy of the 2008 Gas Agreement that enabled the LNG project to start.
Ekanda had argued that he and others were not consulted in line with the Oil and Gas Act before the agreement was formulated, making the gas agreement invalid.
Esso Highlands had argued that the agreement was a “fiscal” agreement and as such the landowners were not involved. 
The developer applied for a summary dismissal against the application by Ekanda and other landowners saying that there was no law in PNG for the state to include landowners in negotiations for such an agreement. 
The developer, however, admitted that landowners were involved in negotiations for licence based on benefit sharing agreements.
Esso applied to summarily dismiss the case because it did not see any benefit in mediating.
However, Justice Ambeng Kandakasi refused to hear its application and the developer filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.