The National, Wednesday February 26th, 2014
By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
THE Komo international airport in Hela, which is serving the LNG project sites, will be handed over to government, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said.
O’Neill disclosed this in parliament last Friday after the member for Koroba Kopiago Philip Undialu raised a question regarding the outcome of discussions between the government and ExxonMobil on the Komo airfield.
“I want to inform that the government has been talking to ExxonMobil and it has agreed that over the next few months the responsibility of that airport will be transferred to the national government,” O’Neill said.
Oil Search managing director Peter Botten said the Komo airport was a major milestone for the PNG LNG project.
“The 3.2km airfield provides a gateway for large equipment to be transported to the project’s Hides gas conditioning plant (HGCP), which will treat natural gas and condensate from the Hides and Angore fields, using Antonov – 124 cargo aircraft,” Botton had said.
The HGCP is about 20km away by road and some of the equipment were to be flown over because they were simply too big to make the journey on trucks down the Highlands Highway.
ExxonMobil confirmed that discussions with PNG government may result in the state having access to the Komo airfield.
“We have entered into discussions with the PNG government on the potential for the PNG LNG project-owned Komo airfield and associated facilities to be accessed by the state under a cost sharing arrangement.”
The airport runway, which was said to be 15% longer than that of the Jackson International Airport, was believed PNG’s longest runway.