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PNG locals against merger

A LANDOWNER group in Western says the resource owners of the P’nyang gas field oppose the Government’s move to integrate P’nyang with the PNG LNG project.
P’nyang gas field chairman Michael Betkimsok said their stand was to have the P’nyang developed into a standalone project.
He made these comments following media reports on the development of P’nyang gas field for PNG LNG expansion project as proposed by the Government and ExxonMobil PNG Ltd.
In January, the Government signed a memorandum of understanding with ExxonMobil to supply gas to Port Moresby in exchange for the granting of Petroleum Development Licence for the gas field.
“We (P’nyang Gas field landowners) have not been consulted in the decision by State and ExxonMobil to include our resources as part of the PNG LNG project expansion,” Betkimsok said.
“We stand firm on our decision for a standalone gas project.
“Should the state and ExxonMobil insist on pursuing this integration arrangement, we will ensure the Petroleum Retention Licence for P’nyang due to expire in April is not renewed.
“We want a separate standalone project that must go through all aspects of negotiations as stipulated by the Oil and Gas Act 1998, towards the issuance of development licence, thus maximising the benefits for all stakeholders, particularly, the P’nyang gas field landowners and the host district, province (Western) as well as the country.
“P’nyang Gas Project must have a separate agreement, independent of PNG LNG Gas Agreement, PNG LNG Umbrella Benefit Sharing and all other previous agreements related to the PNG LNG project.
“The State must give legal interpretation through the courts of the MOU that was signed between the State and the developer.”
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