ExxonMobil defends plans to build pipeline along Gulf

National, Normal

EXXONMOBIL has defended its plans to build a pipeline along the Gulf of Papua, saying its plans were comprehensive.
ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Highlands Limited, the operator of the PNG LNG project, said yesterday the project’s environmental impact statement (EIS) was the most comprehensive environmental assessment in PNG’s history.
Esso was responding to threats in the media by Gulf Governor Havila Kavo.
Mr Kavo threatened to sue to protect the Gulf of Papua, its ecosystem and habitat.
He said the project would destroy rich marine life that supported the people’s way of life and commercial fishing.
Esso replied, saying the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) approved the EIS six months ago in accordance with legislative procedure.
  It said it covered factors such as community needs, sensitive environmental habitats, marine fisheries and biodiversity.
Esso said it had explained the EIS procedure to Mr Kavo and his lawyers, and would defend its position in court.
“It is inaccurate to claim that the project was not subject to a rigorous and thorough environmental analysis.
“The PNG LNG project is committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner and is being managed with an in-depth scientific understanding of the environmental and social impacts of our operations,” Esso said.
It said the project’s 6,000-page EIS was developed over two years with input from regional marine biology experts, with the assessment focusing on sensitive environmental habitats and biodiversity throughout the operating areas, including the Gulf of Papua.