Western Leaders back PM on Pnyang

Western Province leaders have backed Prime Minister, James Marape’s decision to cease negotiations with ExxonMobil on the P’nyang LNG Project.

Western Governor, Taboi Awi Yoto, and North Fly MP, James Donald, announced in a joint statement their endorsement of the Prime Minister stance to stop negotiations and focus on other resource projects currently in the pipeline.

According to the statement the leaders said PNG was entitled to a fair deal. And after the PNG LNG Project, they expectied ExxonMobil and project partner, Oil Search, to display commercial fairness and reasonableness.

The leaders said the companies chose to discard these core virtues.

Both leaders have stated that they remain steadfast in their resolution that the Oil & Gas Act be amended urgently.

Meanwhile Following the announcement by Prime Minister Marape, project partners have responded.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said “We are disappointed we were unable to reach an agreement. We are hopeful that we can continue to work toward an outcome that benefits all stakeholders.”

Oil Search Managing Director, Peter Botten, said while the company respected the Governments right to set fiscal terms for resource projects. However, under the terms proposed by the State, the joint venture partners were unable to obtain a return on their investment.

Total CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, said Exxon Mobil and the PNG government must return to the negotiating table, as the Papua LNG Project is a joint project with that of P’nyang.

The Papua LNG Agreement was signed in September 2019.

The signing of a Pnyang LNG Agreement Project will allow the K42 billion ($13 billion) expansion of gas production to proceed.

It is intended that gas from the two fields would be processed at an expansion of the existing Exxon-operated PNG LNG plant just outside Port Moresby.

Cedric Patjole