AFTER letting Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare down on Sunday, landowners of the Hides Petroleum Development Licence 1 (PDL1) area signed the licence-based benefits sharing agreement at about 4am yesterday.
Oil Search executives confirmed this yesterday.
The signing signifies an important step towards the PNG LNG project becoming a reality, as it was done on the eve of the final investment decision (FID) by developer ExxonMobil and its project partners today.
Hides (PDL1 and PRL12) will supply 60% of the total gas to
the PNG LNG project.
State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare said PDL1 was “very significant” as it underpinned the entire project.
The signing yesterday marked the end of close to four weeks of heated and at times violent debate between landowners on how benefits agreed to in the umbrella benefits sharing agreement in Kokopo earlier this year will be shared locally.
Landowners had agreed to sign on Sunday and Sir Michael was expected to sign on behalf of the State but eleventh-hour changes delayed the signing by yet another day.
With Hides out of the way, landowners from Juha, Angore and Moran have today to sign up.
If they do not, Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma will do so on their behalf through a ministerial determination.
There were some disagreements reported last night at Angore as the signing was going on, which led to a commotion, but this could not be independently confirmed.
Those who have already signed up include Kutubu, Gobe, pipeline landowners, portion 152 landowners and Hides.
Meanwhile, a group of landowners from Juha, who are now stranded in Port Moresby, are in confusion on when and where they will sign the LBBSA after being given the runaround by the Department of Petroleum and Energy.
Chiefs of the Tokomu clan, Tami Hinirako and Hinupi Pokopa, from North Koroba, fronted The National late yesterday confused over the reported signings of LBBSA by various groups.
The two elders who were in Kokopo for the umbrella BSA said they travelled to Moro last week but were left stranded in Moro and have now written to Mr Duma asking when and where they can sign up.