THE National Gas Corporation has welcomed the decision by the National Court to restrain the development forum until all landowner issues are sorted out.
Executive chairman Alfred Kaiabe said yesterday it was unfortunate that the issues of social mapping and landowner identification were being referred to the courts.
He said if the licences were in accordance with the law, and the Department of Petroleum and Energy and other mainline government agencies had carried out social mapping and landowner identification studies, these issues would not interfere with the LNG development and production timetable.
Mr Kaiabe said landowner participation was vital to avoid another Bougainville situation.
“The issue of land ownership is the centrepiece to all the other issues in relation to resource development in this country.”
Mr Kaiabe, who is one of the architects of the Oil and Gas Act when he was member for Komo-Margarima, said that Parliament’s mind was still fresh from the Bougainville experience and the ongoing peace process at that time and ensured that section 47 was specifically inbuilt into the new Oil and Gas Act.
He said this was a compromise of the Petroleum Act and Gas Bill proposed by the Southern Highlands and Gulf province Oil and Gas Task Force headed by him at the time.