Petroleum Minister, Kerenga Kua clarified this in parliament today when questioned why ExxonMobil continued discussions on the Pnyang Project when the PRL License expired.
North Fly MP, James Donald, raised a series of questions in parliament.
One of them was to clarify why ExxonMobil was allowed to negotiate on the P’nyang Project when the PRL the hold expired.
“Can the Minister confirm or deny the PRL license gas expirzed and so ExxonMobil is unlawfully holding onto the license?” asked Donald.
Minister Kua said before the PRL expired, ExxonMobil was given a PDL.
Under the current legislation, a PDL allows for retention rights over a license area even when the PRL expires.
“when companies get a Retention License, there is a duration of two years where they can start to drill more wells and prove there is enough resource to commercialize or not. Under the Act you can extend for two more years not more than three times. After the third time you cannot extend it (PRL) anymore,” said Kua.
However, the law says when the third two-year extension concludes and just before it expires the company with the PRL can apply for a Development License (PDL). And if they apply all their rights under the Retention License continue until Petroleum Advisory Board sit and meet and decide the faith of the application of the Development License.”
The North Fly MP also queried why Minister Kua was not willing to accept the District’s offer of K500, 000 to assist in the review of the Oil and Gast Act.
Donald said Minister Kua has stated numerous times they have not received appropriated funding, but refused assistance.
Minister Kua said allowing such a practice could set off a bad precedent.
“Funding from the National Executive Council for the drafting of the amendment of the Oil and Gas Act has not come through yet, that itself has not stopped the process. Work has already gone ahead. Its better we maintain the independence of the drafting process and continue it,” said the Minister.
“If everybody contributes funding, sometimes they give it with a genuine heart, sometimes you never know what the motive behind it is,” he said.
“We want to process thew bills through the proper process of Government.”
Meanwhile, Minister Kua expressed his frustration over being labelled as corrupt by the North Fly MP.
Kua was furious when making reference to a social media post by James Donald allegedly calling Minister Kua as corrupt.