Review Oil, Gas Act before any gas agreement: MP

The government needs to review and amend the current Oil and Gas Act before reaching any agreement for petroleum resources development in the country, says North Fly MP James Donald.

Donald said the current Oil and Gas Act 1998 needed review and amendment because certain provisions of that law were not serving or protecting the interest of Papua New Guineans, especially the project area landowners.

For example, he said the current law does not provide for the landowners, host provincial governments and host local level governments to participate fully in the whole process from start to finish, involving consultation, negotiation to agreement, as key stakeholders – let alone their mere 2 percent stake in equity when it comes to benefits distribution.

“The landowners are given 2 percent under the current act, which is less when they should be rightfully getting 10-12 percent equity or more,” the North Fly MP said.

“So really when you look at it closely, it (the current Act) is of no real benefit to Papua New Guinea landowners, host provincial governments and local level governments,” Donald said.

He said this 2 percent equity for the landowners under the current law was insensible and could not be allowed more to continue.

“Why continue to keep a law that does not serve our people’s interest?”

He called on the Minister for Petroleum and Energy to look into this and amend certain sections of the oil and gas act before going ahead with agreements on gas development as this law would cause more problems when dealing with landowner benefits for current and future projects.

Donald also called on the prime minister to look into this and support the call for review and amendment for the good of our people.

 “In my view, our government should review and amend the law to give better deal for our people in terms of resource ownership by law because they deserve better from their government,” Donald said.

Meanwhile the North Fly MP has written to the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission his intention to sponsor a Private Member’s bill to review and amend certain provisions in the current Oil and Gas Act.

Press release