BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
PNG LNG gas project developer ExxonMobil is firm on making a final investment decision come Dec 8, and says it will discuss landowner issues that have erupted in the last few days in Port Moresby with groups from the Southern Highlands province.
The firm’s land and community affairs officials will meet with key representatives from the Juha and Angore landowner groups later this week.
The aim was take the discussion forward and resolve the issues, ExxonMobil said.
On Monday, and last Friday, more than 500 disgruntled landowners believed to be from Juha, Angore, Komo and Hides 4 gas fields in Tari, Southern Highlands province, converged on the ExxonMobil office in downtown Port Moresby.
They swamped the Credit Corporation building that houses the giant American company’s office, demanding an explanation over a recent “service agreement” signed between ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Highlands Ltd and Hides Gas Development Corporation (HGDC).
ExxonMobil told The National yesterday afternoon that these issues would be best discussed in the Southern Highlands and not in Port Moresby, with all landowners at the community level.
“It is appropriate that this consultation and decision-making process is conducted at village level, and not in Port Moresby, to ensure decisions represent the views of the community,” Stuart Symons, senior public and Government affairs adviser for PNG LNG, said.
He said the project was not under threat and remained “on track to make a final investment decision before the end of 2009”.
Mr Symons also said ExxonMobil strived to ensure its undertakings were done “according to the principles of inclusive, proper representation of landowners throughout the project-impacted area”.
He said HGDC “is the umbrella company representing the Juha, Hides, PDL 1, PDL 2, Angore, Komo Airstrip and Penaria pipeline landowners in Western and Southern Highlands provinces”.