ExxonMobil's licence still valid, says PNG Petroleum Minister Kua

 THE Petroleum Retention License (PRL) 13 held by ExxonMobil for the P’nyang gas field in Western, Papua New Guinea  is still legal, according to PNG  Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua.

Kua said negotiations for a gas agreement was underway between the Government and ExxonMobil for the commercialisation of the resource.

ExxonMobil's licence still valid, says PNG Petroleum Minister  Kua
ExxonMobil's licence still valid, says PNG Petroleum Minister  Kua

“ExxonMobil still has a valid PRL over the P’nayng gas resource,” he said.

He made the statement to clarify the ownership of PRL 13. “The provisions of the Oil and Gas Act make it clear that a licensee can hold a PRL in three lots of five years – a total of 15 years – before all rights to a further extension is fully extinguished,” Kua said.

“The Oil and Gas Act further says that if during the life of the third and final five-year term, the licensee, such as ExxonMobil, lodges an application for a petroleum development license (APDL), the licensee’s rights are by operation of the law deemed to be extended until such time as the petroleum advisory board (PAB) sits to make a final determination of the APDL.

“As a matter of practice, it has been the case that upon the lodgment of the APDL, the licensee, such as ExxonMobil, immediately enter into a negotiation with the State for a possible gas agreement.

“If a gas agreement is successfully signed, then that agreement is referred to the PAB.

“The PAB will then call the APDL and make a determination for the grant (or rejection) of the APDL leading to as well a decision to grant the licensee a petroleum development license (PDL).

“When that happens, all rights in the PRL and the APRD lapse and all rights are instantly merged into the PDL.

“The project then proceeds through the various stages of FEED, FID, and construction.”

He said that was the procedure.

“ExxonMobil has properly lodged an APDL during the life of the third and final year term of the PRL on P’nyang and has since entered into negotiations with the State.

“There is no prescribed time limit within which such negotiations maybe concluded.

“So whilst the negotiations are continuing the deeming extension of the PRL held by ExxonMobil continues until the day the PAB convenes and makes a final determination on the fate of the APDL.”

The National / Pacific  Mining Watch

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