By PATRICK TALU
CONTINUED threats and interruptions to early works on the multi-billion-kina liquefied natural gas (LNG) project will have a detrimental effect on the project schedule, The National reports.
ExxonMobil, operator of the K40 billion project, yesterday expressed grave concerns after various landowners threatened to stop early works.
Others had forced early works at Hides and Komo to stop for three weeks.
The latest threat came from Papa landowners from portion 152 in Central where the proposed conditioning plant and jetties would be built. They wanted the developer to give them the contract to build the jetty.
“The project is the biggest single investment in the petroleum sector and PNG cannot afford to lose it.
“We have schedule for our first shipment by 2014 and such a threat will have a detrimental effect on our project schedule,” a spokesman for ExxonMobil told The National.
“We have three years to complete the respective phases of the project before our first LNG shipment.
“We cannot afford to lose time. It is going to cost PNG and ExxonMobil.
“As a borrower, we are answerable to financiers who loaned us to fund this massive project,” the spokesman said.
He said this year was just wasted dealing with landowners’ issues, which were not expected.
“The recent activities by these so-called landowners are uncalled for and are illegal.”
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil and Chiyoda JGC joint venture yesterday denied a report in The National last week that 5,000 Indonesian skilled workers would be brought in to work at portion 152.
The report was based on an announcement by an Indonesian embassy official.
A senior manager for Chiyoda said: “The article is incorrect.
“There is no contractor who can supply so many Indonesian workers.”