Landowners want shares in oil firm

Highlands, Normal

The National, Wednesday March 12th, 2014

 THREE landowners have welcomed Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s decision to subscribe for 149 million Oil Search Ltd shares.

O’Neill had made the decision after the Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company refused to sell back the shares it bought from the State.

The South East Mananda principal landowners are Peter Wamali, Jackson Ekanda and John Andale.

They described Oil Search as an “unfair operator” and want the State to reserve up to 10% shares in that company for the people of South East Mananda (SEM).

“While the shares issue looks promising for OSL and the State forming strategic partnerships to venture into oil and gas industry, it is not well for the people of South East Mananda,” they said.

“OSL is an unfair operator. It serves to impress the rest of PNG through the media but miserably fails the community which owns seven major oil fields.

“It gave us zero returns for our existing four oil fields. It is an opportune time for OSL and the State to reserve at least five to 10% free carry shares in OSL for SEM people.

“It is so important to state in public that our push for free carry equity shares and even holding direct shareholding in all our oilfields are mandatory.”

Wamali, Ekanda and Andale said they would expect nothing less than being integral part of their resources

“We will strive for similar deals as done for Ok Tedi landowners,” they said.

“We do appreciate the precedence the current government has set by creating direct landowner participation in their resources, as all parties will enjoy harmonious relationship that will instill investor confidence in the eyes of the big players.”

Ekanda and Andale said they wrote on Oct 7, 2013, to OSL managing director Peter Botten who refused to meet them.