The National, Wednesday October 16th, 2013
By JEFFREY ELAPA
THE Hides landowners in the Hela are threatening to shut down the PNG LNG project after waiting for government commitments since 2009.
The Petroleum Licence Area 7 landowners who own about 70% of the PNG LNG gas and the condensation plant, have called on the government to respond to their demand.
Their demand was made in a petition with a 14-day notice earlier his year as agreed under the Umbrella Benefit Sharing Agreement (UBSA) and Landowner Benefit Sharing Agreement (LBSA)agreements of 2009.
Hides 4 landowners umbrella company chairman Chris Payabe said in the agreement signed in 2009, the parties agreed to resettle the landowners, join the pipeline from wellhead A and not wellhead B, a permanent water supply for the landowners, construction of the K100 million Hides township, sealing of the Para Komo road and funding and construction of health and education facilities, among others.
Payaba, who represents more than 7,000 landowners, said from Hides yesterday that since the agreement was never honoured by the state, the landowners gave the government a 14-day notice addressed to the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and developer ExxonMobil’s managing director, Peter Graham.
He said copies of the petition for the developer and the state was also delivered to the Chief Secretary to Government Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc, Petroleum and Energy secretary Rendall Rimua, Mineral Resource Development Company managing director Augustine Mano, while a further seven days notice was given to the Attorney-General Kerenga Kua.
“Since the people gave the petition, no response has been forthcoming and the PNG LNG project is about to be completed. We want the government to come out clear and tell us if our demands are going to be honoured and when it will be honoured,” he said.
“We will not allow the pipes to be connected to the wellhead and we will force it shut if we do not receive any response from the government and the developer,” he said.
“Enough of giving us piecemeal and sweet-talk. Enough is enough and we want a favourable response to our demands.”