Petroleum Retention Licence held by ExxonMobil valid, says PNG Petroleum Minister Kua

 THE Petroleum Retention Licence held by ExxonMobil for the P’nyang gas field in Western is valid, Papua New Guinea Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua says.

Kua said reports that the licence held by ExxonMobil had expired were incorrect.

“There has been some allegations that the State’s continuation of the negotiations in the P’nyang gas project is illegal,” he said.

“On the basis they say, that the Petroleum Retention Licence held by ExxonMobil had already expired.

“The position of the law is this, the petroleum retention licence has a lifespan of five years.

“After expiry, they can apply for an extension, to a maximum of three (times).

“You can hold a petroleum retention licence for five years, three times.

“A total of 15 years.”

Kua said if a developer had discovered enough reserves within the 15 years of exploration and wished to commercialise it, then according to law it would have to lodge an application for a petroleum development licence (PDL) before the third licence expired.

“Once you lodge your application, all your rights, under the petroleum retention licence are preserved in your favour until the petroleum advisory board makes a decision on the application,” he said.

“This is exactly what happened in this instance.

“Before the third five-year period expired, ExxonMobil had already lodged its petroleum development licence, which automatically preserved their right.

“In fact, on our side, the state solicitor has been involved with the state negotiating team all along and his advice is that there is no problem.

“The licence is valid, the application is valid, and the State and

ExxonMobil are entitled to enter into negotiations for a gas agreement.”

Source: The National

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