By BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
AS the final investment decision (FID) to proceed with the PNG LNG project was made by operator Esso Highlands Ltd, pipeline landowners who had not yet signed, scrambled to put pen to paper at the Department of Petroleum and Energy office in Port Moresby.
Landowners from Moran PDL5/6 also put pen to paper in Port Moresby.
PDL2 landowners from Juha did not want to have their benefits decided by a ministerial determination and signed the agreement in Moro, Southern Highlands province.
Pipeline landowners who signed said they had various side issues but agreed that the PNG LNG project
must go ahead, so they signed.
They also urged the Government to settle their outstanding issues as a token of appreciation.
Simon Danny, interim chairman of the Beneria Landowners Association, said: “We are signing now with our undivided support for the project but we want the Government to settle our issues.”
The landowners have sent a letter to the Department of Petroleum and Energy about the issues.
On that note, Rex Kapa and George Nali of the Beneria Umbrella Pipeline Association, said the Government must recognise their landowner firms BAS Development Ltd and Babu Hoya Ltd.
“We are signing today without receiving any feedback from our proposals and position and we are signing without knowing what is really in it for us, so the Government must respond,” they said.
For Juha, more than a hundred landowners from Suabi in the Nomad district in Western province and the Huli’s of Southern Highlands province witnessed and signed the BSA.
Chairman of principal landowner clan, John Wabi-Sala, said from Moro that even though the Government was firm to make a ministerial determination, he was happy that 12 clans had signed in agreement.
In a special appeal to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Ministerial Economic Committee, Mr Wabia-Sala said fairness must be applied to ensure Juha benefits and that there must be no politicking.
With Juha and Moran PDL5/6 signing, all areas have now signed in agreement.
Southern Highlands Governor Anderson Agiru said: “This means we embrace the PNG LNG project fully and we will ensure we achieve positive outcomes by 2014”.