Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gas owners fight over K115 million



LANDOWNERS from gas fields in the Hela region are still fighting for tens of millions of kina from the state, this time a hefty K115 million promised by ministers to them, The National reports.

Last December, the finance and planning headquarters in Port Moresby was closed and workers could not access buildings after landowners demanded K120 million in business development grants promised them.

The current tussle is over promises made by ministers to landowners at the umbrella benefits sharing agreement (UBSA) reached at Kokopo, East New Britain, and the licence-based benefits sharing agreements (LBBSA) which were reached at the project sites.

Treasury and Finance Minister Peter O’Neill gave directions for the payment of more than K115 million to various landowner companies to honour ministerial commitments for the LNG project last November.

However, to date, the K115, 494,772.17 had not been released, raising the ire of landowners who were promised the funds and, also, inviting a second lot of landowners who claimed that the first group were only “paper landowners” and were not legitimate.lFrom Page 1

The second group, who had missed the list, claimed that the K115.5 million ministerial commitments were promised to “paper landowners” living in Port Moresby.

O’Neill said in a statement late yesterday that the UBSA financial commitments were landowner entitlements for project infrastructure development in the PNG LNG project areas.

“In order to get the LNG project up and running smoothly, the Somare government felt the meaningful participation of landowners in this massive life-changing project is crucial.

“The government, therefore, made a number of important UBSA commitments during the landowner development forum in Kokopo in July 2009.”

O’Neill said in the supplementary budget handed down last November, K170 million was allocated to meet UBSA and LBBSA commitments.

“Because of a lot of disputes and infighting among landowner factions, no funds have been paid to anyone,” O’Neill said.

The treasury secretary has been tasked to pay the following groups:

*Kilo 760 Oil and Gas Pipeline Ltd (Kutubu) – K6.079 million;

*Tubo Enterprise Ltd trading as Tubo Lodge (Kutubu) – K6.5 million;

*Gusomu Society Ltd (Kutubu) – K20 million;

*Akita Investments Ltd (Moran – K5 million;

*Kiki Investments (Northwest Moran) – K9 million;

*Balana Resources Ltd (Moran) – K5 million;

*Kaipte Ikopi Parikewa Investment Ltd (Gobe-Gulf) – K10.56 million;

*Isawari Landowners Association (Kutubu) – K5 million;

*JPPK Hides Association Inc (Hides) – K434, 772.17;

*Wita Arua Holdings (Hides PDL1) – K6 million;

*Petroleum Exploration Joint Venture Ltd – K18 million;

*Hides Tuguba Ltd (Hides PRL12) -– K2 million;

*Para Health Centre Ltd (Hides PRL 12) – K2 million;

*Bosaru-Sisa Landowners Association (SE Mananda-Onabasulu) – K5 million;

*Bosavi-Sisa Landowners (SE Mamanda) – K5 million; and

* Juha Joint Venture Ltd (Juha) – K5 million.

However, Hiwa Corporation Ltd Holdings chairman Peter Purani and Tuguba Petroleum Development Licence (PDL 1) Ltd chairman Howard Lole said these groups did not own sites hosting LNG infrastructures and facilities.

They said their companies represented 15 clans that owned PDL1 sites hosting the main gas producing activities

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