6 May 2013

Minister admits LNG tensions could require police presence

5:19 am on 6 May 2013

The minister of police in Papua New Guinea admits the growing tension surrounding the LNG project in Hela province could lead to disturbances around law and order.

Many believe the country's first liquified natural gas project has seen little of the promised infrastructure and development benefits promised them by the project operator, Esso Highlands.

A former police commissioner Gary Baki says outside of the project site there are only three police to nearly 30,000 people in the Komo region and says they won't be able to cope if the situation boils over.

The police minister Nixon Duban concedes the police might have to get involved.

"Because of the issues surrounding the business development grants and people have been voicing a lot of disappointment and disatisfaction in the way in which it was handled so there seems to be some issues where you would think the police would have to be around to attend to the law and order situation outside of the project areas."

Nixon Duban says the government's emphasis has been on security of the LNG site to protect the investment but says if there is a need for additional deployments outside of the area that can be done.