Landowners shut Gobe PDL 4

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 13th December 2011

ANGRY landowners have closed down operations for the LNG project at the Gobe Petroleum Development Licence 4.
They walked into the construction sites at Kaiam and Kopi, on the Gulf side, and shut the main oil valve in Gobe last Thursday afternoon.
Esso Highlands Ltd leader media and communication adviser Rebecca Arnold yesterday confirmed a camp operated by pipeline engineering procurement construction contractor, Spiecapag, had its perimeter breached at around 9pm Thursday by a group of people from the local area.
Arnold said a number of vehicles were vandalised and equipment stolen.
She said an adjacent camp operated by landowner company Gobe Field Engineering was also broken into and was being occupied by members of the group.
There are no reports of injuries, with police and other authorities on site.
“The primary issue regarding the occupation appears to be government commitments related to oil project memorandums of understanding.
“Safety and security is a core value of Esso Highlands Limited, and we are committed to providing a safe workplace. We will work with our contractors and other operators to understand how this event occurred to avoid future incidents,” Arnold said in an email yesterday afternoon.
Gobe PDL4 chairman Jerome Kairi said the aggrieved landowners decided to act after 20 years of being in isolation because of a land dispute in their landowning groups.
He said since the matter of land ownership had been resolved,  more than 5,000 landowner people walked into their respective projects sites and forced early works activities to be halted until a petition containing demands and issues delivered to the State was met.
Kairi said the Gobe PDL4 landowners acted after the State failed to meet their demands contained in a petition delivered on Dec 6, which had demanded a response within 48 hours.
“I want to inform the State, ExxonMobil and all stakeholders that Gobe projects have been closed as of Thursday last week,” Kairi said.