28 May 2009

Hides landowners negotiating for better deal in PNG LNG project

1:41 pm on 28 May 2009

Some landowners in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands are yet to sign approval for the PNG Liquid Natural Gas project led by Exxon Mobil because of unresolved issues surrounding the US$10 billion venture.

Landowners from the Southern Highlands gas fields, known as Hides, are among those who remain in Kokopo where the project's Benefits Sharing Agreement was signed last week.

Most landowners signed the agreement, which gives them 7 percent equity stake in the project, with the national government, affected provincial governments and local leaders.

But Hides landowners are unhappy with the overall deal, particularly the lack of domestic access to the gas.

Hides landowner Philip Undialu says his people support the project but want a fair deal, with more than just cash benefits...

"The official forum has closed but for those of us who have not signed it, the negotiation is continuing with the responsible department heads and ministers concerned. We might complete the negotiations within the next couple of days depending on the government's position on our demands."

Philip Undialu