13 Sep 2011

Esso says PNG blockade lasted only minutes

3:10 pm on 13 September 2011

The lead company involved in the liquified natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, Esso Highlands Ltd, says disruption caused by a landowners' protest last week lasted only minutes and work quickly returned to normal.

The company has taken exception to media reports suggesting the protest brought work on the development of an airport at Komo in what will become Hela Province to a standstill.

The landowners were upset with the national government that they hadn't received business development grants which had been paid to other landowning groups.

But a spokesperson for Esso Highlands, Rebecca Arnold, says the matter was quickly resolved.

She says the company has a strong community team working to defuse such grievances.

"We have a very structured grievance procedure for people to raise any particular issue. We actually have a lot of support from the community, and we try very hard to work with the community and local authorities to make sure that any grievances are addressed very quickly and in a timely fashion so that we do avoid incidents like this occurring."