By BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
THE signing process for the licence-based benefit sharing agreements (LBBSA) for the PNG LNG pipeline areas has begun with Finance and Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch penning his signature on behalf of the State yesterday.
Present to witness the signing was ministers for National Planning Paul Tiensten, Forests Belden Namah and Commerce Gabriel Kapris.
PNG LNG pipeline LBBSA team leader Peter Koim said Gulf landowners would sign today and Department of Petroleum and Energy officers would arrange for segments of SHP landowners to meet with DPE and sign individually.
Southern Highlands province pipeline landowners are also expected to sign the agreements but will do so in segments.
“I am happy with the progress so far and we expect to have fruitful discussions with the different segments and hopefully get the process completed in due course,” he said.
Mr Koim said that pipeline landowners from the SHP were being met in groups to avoid confusion and intimidation in a large forum.
“Most of the groups were reluctant to sign in the central venue, so they are expected to sign in their own individual groups,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Government said it was satisfied with the progress made to date with the conducting of the forums in the project areas of Hides, Angore, Kutubu, Gobe, Juha, Portion 152 and Moran.
In a joint statement, Public Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare and Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma said “in these forums, every genuine landowner is being given an opportunity to discuss how they will share the benefits from the US$16.4 billion PNG LNG Project”.
Mr Duma reiterated that discussion in these forums has already been agreed to at the Kokopo umbrella benefits sharing agreement and no new benefits will be introduced.
“When the benefits are distributed, no genuine landowners will be left out,” he said.
The Department of Petroleum and Energy will be in the Hides area soon to assist in the establishment of Incorporated Land Groups (ILG) and all landowners are asked to assist in the successful establishment of the ILGs.