Thursday, January 27, 2011

Owners of gas will also suffer

Government vows to find money and settle promises




LANDOWNERS are punishing themselves as well as ExxonMobil and the state through unnecessary stop-work and delay on the PNG liquefied natural gas project, National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten said last night, The National reports.

He said the landowners were eroding the value of their own shares by their actions.

“They are punishing themselves further with delay in dividends and royalties,” Tiensten said after emerging from a protracted cabinet meeting where, it was understood, the stopwork at Hides 4 was the main agenda for discussion.

Also yesterday:

* Landowner representatives in Port Moresby marched to Morauta House to petition the government over delays in memorandum of agreement funds, business development grants and unfulfilled ministerial commitments;

* Gobe petroleum development licence (PDL) 4 landowners in Southern Highlands yesterday threatened to shut down the LNG production facility over alleged misuse of their K8.2 million seed capital funds; and

* Government team leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Polye presented his report on his trip to Hides 4 to the government.

Tiensten said the national government would deliver project related grants to improve the lives of Southern Highlands and not cash handouts.

“We must change the cash hand-out mentality in Southern Highlands. We want people to have a sustainable life long after the gas is gone,” Tiensten said.

Tiensten also urged landowners to allow the project to proceed as further delays would directly cost the state, which has a 19.4% stake including landowners (7%), a lot.

“We must all be responsible because such actions will erode the net value of the project and that will be an additional cost to the state including the landowners and joint venture partners.

“Do not think you are punishing the state and ExxonMobil; landowners too will suffer.

“You are eroding the value of your shares by your actions.”

He said some of the commitments made at the UBSA and LBBSA were not captured in this year’s budget; however, money would be sourced from the current basket to meet these commitments.

“We will be going up to the field to deliver various commitments in this year’s budget after all government processes is completed.”



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