Landowners urged not to form ILGs

National, Normal

The National – Thursday, December 2, 2010

SECRETARY for Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) Rendle Rimua cautioned beneficiaries of Elk-Antelope oil development prospects or petroleum prospecting licenced areas  (PPL237 and PPL238) not to form any integrated landowners groups (ILGs) until the PPLs became petroleum development licenced (PDL) areas.
Rimua, in response to various media statements, advised potential beneficiaries or landowners of the Elk-Antelope fields that there were legal processes involved in the identification of project area landowners who could then become beneficiaries once the project was fully developed.
He said InterOil was the licencee over PPL 237 and 238 and was still carrying out its drilling programme to fully ascertain the gas resources in a number of blocks in the PPLs where the Elk-Antelope reservoirs were contained.
“Only those blocks contained in the PPL 238 would be subject to a PDL, once there was sufficient commercial discovery and prospect for development,” Rimua said.
“Only clans who had land interest and perhaps kinship relationship with those blocks that would eventually be converted to a PDL from current PPL would become project area landowners and beneficiaries under the Oil and Gas Act.
“This recognition would arise from full scale social mapping and landowners identification studies and reports from the licencee as part of its licence obligation as prerequisite for fulfilled development.”
He said at this stage these studies were being conducted by the licencee and once a report was furnished to the DPE, it would then assist the DPE to engage with the concerned people who would eventually become beneficiaries after being determined by the minister.
Rimua said it was foolhardy for anyone to go around advising landowners to form ILGs or for landowners to form companies without the completion of the full-scale social mapping and landowner identification studies and reports.
Those studies and reports would have to be completed first before the state and developer approach landowners to form ILGs.