19 May 2005

BP criticised for giving go-ahead for US$6bn gas project in Indonesia's Papua

10:20 am on 19 May 2005

The British oil giant BP is being criticised for giving the final go-ahead to a gas project in the Indonesian province of Papua.

"Hundreds of villagers have been forced to move out of the Tangguh (Tan-goo) area in the Bird's Head peninsula."

BP says the six billion US dollar project has the capacity to meet six per cent of the world's demand for liquified natural gas.

But the director of the NGO, the office for justice and peace in Papua, Pudi Hernawan, says BP has gone ahead before Indonesia has sorted out the autonomy status of Papua.

Given that West Irian Jaya province doesn't have legal basis, it is still problematic, and this is still risky for this project.

Mr Hernawan says the project threatens to increase tensions between villagers to the north and south of the Bintuni Bay area.

An independent panel has urged BP to make public, the security plan the company agreed on with local police.