11 Feb 2010

No link between tribal incidents and PNG LNG Project, says Southern highlands Police chief

8:51 pm on 11 February 2010

The police commander in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands has again dismissed suggestions that continuing violence could derail the massive LNG project.

The 16 billion US dollar project will see a pipeline carrying liquid natural gas from an ExxonMobil site in Southern Highlands to Port Moresby from 2014.

However Exxonmobil this week temporarily suspended construction in several areas in Southern Highlands in response to continuing violence.

This comes after police clashed with hundreds of villagers near a proposed project site, and just days after a key road to ExxonMobil's proposed Kobalu base was held up by tribesmen.

Authorities are concerned the incidents may be linked to tensions regarding LNG leases.

But Commander Jimmy Onopia has ruled this out.

"None of the tribal fighting is actually related to the LNG project. Tribal fighting, as you would appreciate, is actually a common thing, of no exception in this country. Tribal fights have been there long before the LNG even came into PNG."

Jimmy Onopia