Hides plant land in court

National, Normal

THE State and developer ExxonMobil have been taken to court over the land in which the Hides Gas conditioning plant will be built.
The 450ha land is situated in PRL12 near the Hides four well head, which will provide more than 50% of the raw material for the entire LNG project.
Plaintiff John Honale, representing the Tuguba Aja, Takopali, and Takuali clans, said the land was their traditional customary land.
Mr Honale said they wanted to enter into a lease agreement with either the State or the developer for the use of their land.
“We want maximum benefit for the use of our land over the 30-year project life time. That is what we are going to court for,” Mr Honale said.
In the papers filed in court, the clans are seeking compensation for damages to the environment, and destruction to burial and ritual sites including hunting grounds, resettlement of villages, and a lease arrangement for use of their land.
The initial order does not seek to impede current development at the site, or the development forums that are underway.
“We are for the project, not against it. All we are seeking are benefits which we feel are due to us,” Mr Honale said.
The defendants in the proceedings include the Department of Petroleum and Energy, the State, ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso Highlands, and Oil Search.
The case is due to be heard today before Justice Les Gavera Nanu.