29 Mar 2012

Claim landowners in PNG Highlands ready to defend themselves from soldiers deployed there

4:34 pm on 29 March 2012

Landowners in Papua New Guinea's Hela region are reportedly preparing to defend themselves against police and military over efforts to restart part of Exxon Mobil's liquefied natural gas project

Exxon's project operator, Esso Highlands Ltd, has been forced to suspend work in the Hides area due to another dispute with locals.

The NGO, LNG Watch, says locals are angry about not being compensated for the environmental damage caused by the construction of the Hides gas conditioning plant.

LNG Watch's Stanley Mamu says the original project agreement provides for such compensation to be paid.

But he says Hides locals feel they have been cheated and are unhappy at reports that more police and defence force personnel are to be deployed to the area.

"Construction of the conditioning plant currently underway has been stopped. But I think by brute force they (police and defence force personnel) will reopen that, I think."

Stanley Mamu