LNG landowner blames government and ministers

National, Normal

The National – Monday, January 31, 2011

THE national government and ministers are eroding the value of all PNG stakeholder shares in the LNG project, chairman of Hides Gas Resources Ltd Willy Wandiya said last Thursday.
Wandiya was responding to National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten’s comments, describing them as “the expected reaction of a government and its instrumentalities to its own failures and incompetence”.
He claimed the situation surrounding the shutdown of certain portions of the LNG project development by disgruntled landowners was the handiwork of the government from the very start.
“Symptoms of brewing discontentment have been evident from the very beginning, yet for some reason, authorities did not take heed,” Wandiya said.
“The tell-tale signs have been repeatedly conveyed to authorities and were ignored.”
Tiensten had said landowners were eroding the value of their own shares by their actions in what he described as unnecessary stop-work and delays in the progress of the liquefied natural gas project.
Wandiya said it was absurd for a responsible government to shift the blame to landowners “who are the very people the government had failed from the very beginning”.
“We never made ministerial commitments and a host of other commitments.
“It has been ministers of the government and its instrumentalities,”  he said.
“I would like to correct the minister that it is the national government and ministers with this kind of reaction who are eroding the value of all stakeholder shares in the PNG LNG project.
“While we understand the cash flow problems and are appreciative of the trouble the government is going through to secure funds to meet its commitments to the landowners, I would like to remind government that the issues raised by the landowners are genuine which it should have addressed instead of giving themselves a salary increase.
“We have nothing to lose.
“It is the government and the leaders who have a lot to lose in light of the fact that they have signed so many agreements mortgaging our gas resource for international loans,” Wandiya said.