29 Mar 2012

Warning of potential for conflict in PNG's Hela region as landowner frustration grows

2:55 pm on 29 March 2012

A Papua New Guinea NGO has warned about the potential for conflict in the Hela region where landowner frustrations are growing over 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.

LNG Watch, which monitors the project, 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 tension is building after locals learnt that more police and defence force personnel are to be deployed to the area.

"The landowners can shoot out in the first place. So they'll waiting for defence and policemen to shoot out first. They're prepared, they're prepared because they heard that the government is sending police men and the Defence Force. Those police men and Defence are there to reopen the project by force."

Stanley Mamu.