PRIME Minister James Marape has been applauded for signing the P’nyang gas deal with Exxon Mobil in Texas, United States.
Since the liquefied natural gas (LNG) was discovered at the turn of the millennium 20 years ago, landowners have waited so long for the Government to progress the LNG project and partake in its benefits.
However, it remained dormant too long and many have died.
It is a relief to see the prime minister taking that bold step.
For Marape to secure 63 per cent stake in the P’nyang LNG project for the landowners and PNG is a landmark achievement for any LNG project in the country.
We appreciate this.
We appreciate Exxon Mobil’s good will, which is reflected in this deal.
We now call on our MPs to support the prime minister and the Government to expedite the project.
The P’nyang LNG project should proceed without any delay.
For Marape to say that P’nyang LNG will come on in eight years as soon as the Papua LNG infrastructure is completed is not acceptable.
All these time, we were led to believe that the P’nyang LNG will be a standalone project.
It seems that position has changed.
The prime minister’s statement last week implies that P’nyang LNG will become a part of the Papua LNG agreement.
But Western is not a signatory to the Papua LNG agreement.
It cannot wait for eight years for the Papua LNG infrastructure to be completed.
The P’nyang LNG has to be a standalone project.
Western has other LNG reserves and exploration and prospecting activities have identified extensive network of oil wells in the province, which will come online soon.
Therefore, P’nyang LNG pipeline and other support infrastructures have to be developed as a standalone project in the province, in order to accommodate other LNG projects afford have been discovered and will come on line in the near future.
Western cannot afford to miss out on these vital infrastructure developments because they will become corridors for economic development. The Government cannot give just 2.44 per cent free carried equity alone and expect the landowners to be satisfied with it.
They have to be given the option to purchase an equity stake in P’nyang LNG.
Landowners are prepared to take up half of the 63 per cent State equity secured by the prime minister and team.
The Government should make such provisions in the agreement from the start so that we know where are heading.
Norbert Makmop &