Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ExxonMobil's Plan to abandon gas site in PNG clarified

THE Hides 4 well at Wellpad A of the PNG LNG project is a 20-year-old exploration well which has never produced gas, ExxonMobil says.
The company was responding to concerns raised by landowners of Hides 4 Wellpad A, who claimed that the entire PNG LNG project was based on Wellpad A.
They said the decision to abandon the site was not in the best interest of the landowners as they would miss out on landowner benefits.
However, ExxonMobil, in an email, said the Hides 4 well at Wellpad A, “is a 20-year-old exploration well which has never produced gas”.
The company said as a responsible operator, they had decided to plug and abandon the well as there was no need to keep the wellpad.
ExxonMobil further assured landowners that the plugging and abandoning of Hides 4 well did not change the status of the identified landowners of PDL7.
This also did not change their entitlements to benefits in accordance with umbrella benefit-sharing agreements (UBSA) and licence-based sharing agreements (LBSA).
“We are committed to maintaining a positive relationship with landowners and we are continuing to work with them to allay their concerns,” it said.
Landowners, led by Hela deputy-Governor and president of Komo local level government Thomas Potape, claimed that the entire LNG project development and benefit-sharing agreements (LNG development agreement, UBSA and LBSA) were based on the successful discovery of gas at Hides 4 Wellpad A.
They said with the discovery of gas, landowners or occupants within the vicinity of the wellpad area were told to vacate.
The people refused to move as there was no proper resettlement exercise by ExxonMobil.
Potape said while the issues of resettlement were about to be addressed by concerned authorities, ExxonMobil decided to abandon the site and was in the process of cementing the drilled site.
He said the decision had not gone down well with the landowners as beneficiaries.
“ExxonMobil’s plan to abandon the site is not in the best interest of the people when the Hides 4 PDL 7 project was based on the initial discovery of gas at Hide Well Pad A,” he said.
“The decision to abandon the wellpad only confirms our suspicions that the company had performed a side-drill to extract the gas beneath. This is illegal and we want ExxonMobil to come out clear on this issue.” The National/PMW

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