16 Feb 2010

Landowners in PNG's Southern Highlands condemned tribal and village conflicts

11:40 am on 16 February 2010

Three prominent Southern Highlands landowner leaders have condemned tribal and village conflicts that are affecting early works in the PNG LNG Project areas in their province and Central Province.

The 16 billion US dollar project will see a pipeline carrying liquid natural gas from an ExxonMobil site in Southern Highlands to PNG's capital Port Moresby from 2014.

The landowner leaders - Larry Andagali of Hides, Mark Sakai of Kutubu and Edward Alina of Moran - told the Post Courier they were gravely concerned that the troubles had forced project operator Esso Highlands Limited to shut down operations in Southern Highlands and at the LNG plant site near Port Moresby.

They say they are also very concerned that the troubles are causing anxiety and nervousness among the project stakeholders and financiers.

The three leaders say they understand that the full financing package for the project has not yet been finalised and the current situation may cause unnecessary delays to the process.

They stressed the importance of the project to the country's economy and future well-being and called for peace and commonsense to prevail in the affected areas.