K60 million for forum

National, Normal


TAXPAYERS will fork out K60 million for the Department of Petroleum and Energy to hold the licence-based development forums involving project landowners of the LNG project.
These development forums will begin at various selected project sites next Monday, Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma announced on Wednesday.
He said K60 million had been budgeted to carry out Licence-Based Sharing Agreement (LBSA) in nine areas starting with portion 152 – the LNG plant landowners of Central province.
This will be followed by other licenced areas including Gobe, Kutubu, Moran, Angore, Juha, Hides PDL 1, PRL 11 and Hides PRL 12 and the pipeline segment.
The successful completion of the LBSA will pave the way for ExxonMobil and its partners to proceed to the final investment decision by Dec 8.
Mr Duma said the LBSA followed the umbrella BSA forum held in Kokopo in May.
He said in Kokopo, the National Government offered 7% equity to landowners, provincial governments and LLGs, and agreed to provide K120 million Business Development Grant or “seed capital” and further agreed to fund infrastructure projects to the tune of K1.2 billion over the next 10 years.”
He said the Kokopo forum had set the perimeters and the LBSA would go into specific details of benefit sharing.
“Hides PDL 1 and PRL 12 landowners will now discuss how they share the portion of equity between provincial government and local level governments.”
On the touchy subject of MoA funds, Mr Duma said the department was  doing an ongoing audit on MoA funds being paid out and which landowners had missed out.
“We have to do a thorough audit because of numerous complaints raised and when we go to the LBSA we will know where we stand.”
He said the LBSA locations would depend on funding, logistics and in some areas like Komo and Angore, it was not possible to hold LBSA there because of on-going tribal fights.
He said the Oil and Gas Act was not specific but stated that forums be held at site or near the site and that could be in Mt Hagen or Port Moresby if landowners agree.