Reuters are reporting that the Papua New Guinea government has started paying local landowners long awaited benefits from the US$19 billion PNG LNG project, in a promising sign for energy giants ExxonMobil and Total looking to invest billions more in the country.
The PNG LNG project, operated by ExxonMobil Corp, has been exporting for more than three years, with a 2% royalty set aside for landowners, but payments had been held up by disputes over who is eligible.
The royalty funds have been held in trust by the government while it vets landowners, a prolonged process that has triggered violent clashes over the past three years and threatened to disrupt PNG LNG operations.
Progress on resolving the disputes comes as a relief for ExxonMobil, France’s Total SA and their partners who are in talks to invest billions of dollars in new gas fields to double LNG exports from one of the world’s lowest cost sites.
The government has made resolution of the landowner issues a priority in a 100-day plan it set out following elections in July.
Identification of those eligible for royalties still needs to be resolved with landowners in the impoverished highlands, where gas is produced and piped to the LNG plant.
Read the article online at: https://www.lngindustry.com/liquid-natural-gas/13092017/papua-new-guinea-starts-paying-landowners-lng-royalties/