23 Dec 2011

PNG landowners issue ultimatum over LNG developments

6:16 pm on 23 December 2011

The head of a landowners' group in Papua New Guinea's Hela province claims they will shut down the huge liquified natural gas project if their demand is not met.

Aggrieved landowners stormed a key LNG project site on December the 8th, and the chairperson of the Gobe landowners group, Jerome Kairi, estimates 12-hundred now occupy the Gobe Field Engineers camp site.

Mr Kairi says they have given the government and operator of the LNG project Esso Highlands, until Saturday to meet commitments made to landowners, such as infrastructure improvements and development grants.

"I haven't got any undertaking from both Esso Highlands and the government as to what understanding we are to reach. If that fails then the whole oil operation and the whole LNG operation would have to come to a stop and we are going to demand the company to evacuate and have the project closed forever."

Jerome Kairi.

The Esso Highlands spokesperson Rebecca Arnold says the main issue is around government commitments to historic oil project memoranda of agreement, which do not relate to the LNG gas project.