GULF Governor Chris Haiveta ran some sweeping attacks on Oil Search in the media last week.
Haiveta is a very senior citizen of PNG and is no stranger to the PNG Government system.
He was at one time a member of parliament, a senior minister and a deputy prime minister.
I believe he was engaged by the Government in PNG LNG Project negotiations.
If all the claims by Chris Haiveta against Oil Search holds truth, then you ought to know that you failed miserably to correct the mistakes or oversights at those material times of project engagements and discussions.
At law of contract, past considerations are not good considerations, therefore, your claims must fail at law and principles of law.
You cannot backbite a partner or the other party after failing to perform and deliver on your part of the obligations.
The State owns the land, the sea, the sky and resources beneath and above. As the principle landowner, the State has the ethical and
legal responsibility to create a
level-playing field for investors to play the ball game within field of play.
The State as regulator has the responsibility to provide a conducive environments for the private sector to invest and do business.
It would be absurd and risky business for Oil Search or ExxonMobil to conduct landowner identification studies in what is a far-complex land tenure system.
In a complex project like the PNG LNG Project, that traverses through many tribal land regions and provinces alike.
It is true to say the State has attempted to carry out landowner identification study several times but to no avail.
Oil Search has not been ignorant on the State during the several failed attempts.
It has always provided logistics, camp accommodation, communications and field work support.
However, the landowners have become problems than solutions to the process.
Landowner factions have always run to the courts to restrain the State from carrying out its lawful duties.
Oil Search is a responsible corporate citizen.
It has the right to ask the Government to perform its part to ensure landowner identification is done so that landowners begin to receive their benefits from the PNG LNG project.
Oil Search and Exxon Mobil should be left conduct their business with communities.
They pay landowner benefits through the Government and expect the money trickling down to the project area communities.
The call by Oil Search is a responsible call made on behalf of the genuine landowners.
Haiveta and like-minded leaders for that matter cannot shift the blame to Oil Search and colour-coat the truth with lies to impress the landowners.
We urge the State to carry out the landowner identification study and allow genuine landowners to benefit from LNG royalty payments without further delays.