The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
LANDOWNER leaders from the oil and gas rich Semberigi project site, at Gobe, have called on the national government and Oil Search Ltd to facilitate a meeting with them by today.
Landowner’s spokesman councillor Max Apua said unlike the past when landowners were divided, this time all 21 incorporated landowner groups from Erave district, Southern Highlands, were united in the push for their demands to be met.
The landowner leaders representing PDL 3 (Imawe Bogasi clans) and 4 (Tipurupeke clans) said they had been frustrated for too long by failed promises to pay them their outstanding benefits under the umbrella benefit sharing agreement and landowner based benefit sharing agreement signed in 2009.
Their demands include :
- Infrastructure development grants (IDGs) from 2010-13;
- Gobe ministerial commitments;
- Gobe special purpose authority funds for developments; and
- Cabinet to revoke NEC decision to remove development grants from the Southern Highlands’ provincial administration and powers transferred back to the National Planning Department and Department of Petroleum and Energy.
“We have already advised Oil Search and the chief secretary’s office at Waigani to come with their government team to meet us at the project site so we can present our last and final petition,” Apua said.
Oil Search general manager external affairs and community affairs Willie Kupo confirmed receiving the letter from the Semberigi Valley community and an awareness document from Port Moresby-based Semberigi Valley representatives as well.
In an email, Kupo said they were talking to members of the community in Semberigi Valley urging them not to disturb production operations at Gobe.