24 Dec 2011

Occupiers slow down operations at PNG LNG site

6:19 am on 24 December 2011

The operator of the multi-billion dollar liquified natural gas project in Papua New Guinea says it is hoping for a quick resolution after a group of landowners stormed one of its key project sites in the Hela province.

The chairperson of the Gobe landowners group, Jerome Kairi, estimates about 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 Ltd, 48 hours to meet commitments made to landowners, such as infrastructure improvements and development grants.

But the ESSO Highlands Ltd spokesperson Rebecca Arnold says the grievances do not relate to the natural gas project.

"The primary issues really relate to government commitments around oil project memorandum's of agreement. The PNG LNG project is obviously very hopeful of a quick resolution to the issue."

Rebecca Arnold says operations have slowed down at the site in Gobe as a result of the occupation.