Western landowners question benefits sharing for LNG

National, Normal

LANDOWNERS of  petroleum development licence 9 (PDL9) in the LNG project area of Juha, Western province, are questioning an interim ministerial determination outlining the benefits sharing amongst the landowners.
Executives of Febi Landowners Association John Wabi Sala, Mark Pyambao and Frank Neobia said the determination outlining the benefit sharing of 50% to Febi Clan of Juha and another 50% allegedly given to other clans in the Southern Highlands province from  PDL9 were suspicious and irregular.
 “On what basis did Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma determine the benefits sharing between Juha landowners?” Mr Sala asked.
“A final full-scale social mapping done by project developer ExxonMobil in 2008 and presented to the Department of Petroleum and Energy and later to Mr Duma clearly identified PDL9 in Juha was geographically located in the Western province.
“How come the minister included clans from Southern Highlands in the same basket?” he asked.
A copy of the National Gazette containing determination dated March 10 jointly signed by Mr Duma, Treasury secretary Simon Tosali and Petroleum and Energy secretary Rendel Rimua outlined the following:
* Schedule 1 (PDL9) resident clans – Febi clans is entitled to receive 60% of all the benefits including seed capital, development grants, MoU grants and other funds;
* 10% of the 60% is to be given to Febi clans in the Southern Highlands province comprising Begaye, Duli, Hagu and Togomu (which Mr Sala is disputing that they neither exist in Southern Highlands nor in Western province); and
* 40% is allocated to other clans from either province. Out of the 40%, 38% would be shared equally between Tuguba and other unidentified clans from Southern Highlands and another 2% is set aside for unidentified sub-clans from Western province.
Mr Sala said the other clans mentioned in the determination had no cultural links or ties between the people of Febi and questioned how these people from another province had been recognised in PDL9.