THE Baimuru landowners from Gulf province yesterday warned InterOil and other companies operating on their land they would no longer be allowed to operate unless legitimate landowners were considered, The National reports.
They also made it clear that they would support Shell, ExxonMobil or any other developer to the Elk and Antelope gas fields if they abided by their conditions.
The landowners met at Aku Lodge in Port Moresby where they said they had run out of patience with InterOil for being on their land for so long, with no gas project forthcoming.
InterOil declined to comment when contacted.
“We (InterOil) were not aware of any meeting and we do not know about this group, and therefore have no comment to make,” an InterOil official said.
The oil company on Monday announced a net profit of US$17.7 million for the year ended Dec 31, 2011, despite all the negative publicity it had received last year about its Gulf LNG project and its fallout with the Papua New Guinea government.
The Gulf LNG project was expected to have liquefied gas exported from the Elk and Antelope gas fields in the Gulf province.
Last September, however, the InterOil-proposed Gulf LNG project was dumped by cabinet on grounds that it deviated from the original project agreement.
In a reply, InterOil said it was still committed to delivering a world-class Gulf LNG project in compliance with the 2009 agreement with the government.
Shell, one of the largest energy and petrochemical companies in the world, returned to PNG last month and there was speculation that it was being mooted as heir-apparent in the Gulf LNG project.
Gulf Governor Havila Kavo had already come out twice in Parliament attacking Shell and defending InterOil.
The Baimuru landowners from nine tribes came under the umbrella Purari Development Association.
Association president and former MP Roy Evara said: “For so long, InterOil has been mucking around and entering into agreements with other small fly-by-night companies on a piece-meal basis, and has deviated from the original project agreement, which was signed with the government of PNG in 2009
“There are already big players in PNG and abroad who want to buy out InterOil and it is about time the government puts its foot down to stop the nonsense that is currently going on, in the interest of the nation.
“We do not see eye-to-eye with InterOil.
“We’ve been supporting them up to now but they have never opened their doors to us."