26 May 2009

Landowners happy with new LNG deal signed in Papua New Guinea

8:31 am on 26 May 2009

A multi-billion US dollar deal has been signed between Papua New Guinea landowners and ExxonMobil for a Liquefied Natural Gas project.

After five weeks of talks with resource owners, provincial governments and PNG's national government agreed to a seven billion US dollar deal over the 30-year life span of the LNG project.

The weekend's signing session in Kokopo, in East New Britain, has secured landowners and provincial government seven per cent equity in the project.

One of the parties to the new agreement, the Digimu Landowners Association from Southern Highlands is happy with the shape of the project, even though they're not totally clear how the equity stake will filter down to landowners.

The Association's spokesman, former Southern Highlands Governor, Hami Yawari, says it is the right time for signing, because there is still room for discussion about the shape of the project.

"Because (we) need the projects to go (ahead)... because ExxonMobil and Oil Search have already secured markets in Asia and also China and everywhere. So let's have that project moving but there's time for us to sit down and talk about the things that we are not happy (with)."

Hami Yawari.