ExxonMobil evacuates staff over safety concerns

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MORE than 100 workers from ExxonMobil working at the Hides Conditioning Plant in Hela left the province yesterday, according to police.
Hela police commander Michael Welly, pictured, confirmed that his officers escorted the workers to the airport to travel on the first flight out of Komo to Port Moresby.
Welly said he was not aware of the reason but said the situation on the ground was quiet.
A spokesperson for ExxonMobil PNG Ltd said: “The Hides Gas Conditioning Plant is continuing to operate.  ExxonMobil PNG continues to monitor the situation in Hela Province.
“The safety and security of our employees, contractors and the local community is a top priority.
“Due to recent community tension in the Highlands (Hides, Angore, Komo), ExxonMobil PNG has suspended non-essential work.
“Non-essential personnel are being re-deployed to other areas.”
Deputy Hela Governor Thomas Potape told The National that the landowners wanted to shut down the PNG LNG project due to their prolonged outstanding benefit payments.