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A sigh of relief for the aggrieved Papua New Guinea landowners and key stakeholders of the recently signed Papua LNG (liquefied natural gas) – the gas project agreement will be “reviewed”.
This was the ultimate assurance from the Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua during the handover-takeover ceremony between him and outgoing minister Dr Fabian Pok in Port Moresby.
Kua gave the assurance in front of a packed conference room of landowners, oil and gas company executives and department staff at Hideaway Hotel.
He said the review should be done to satisfy the government and people that “it was signed in compliance with all applicable laws” and protocols and key institutions like the Bank of PNG and Treasury had been involved equitably and statutorily.
He drew applause from the conference room.
“We owe it to our people,” he said. “Leadership and government must combine and deliver back to our people.”
Kua said although there were market forces, they would not run away and the government and people must approach it judiciously.
He said the petroleum industry was one of the biggest revenue earners but asked: “Is the level of revenue we generate enough?”
Kua reminded the department staff that while there would be work to review projects and legislation.
“There is that urgent need to source money to fund the visions of the government as outlined by Prime Minister James Marape,” he said.
He noted the bold statements of making PNG the richest black nation and to take back PNG.
“The challenge or way forward has been defined, now we need money. It must start somewhere, you cannot wait,” he said.
Kua said his key performance indicators would be defined by the two guiding statements made by the Prime Minister.
“It is incumbent of the leaders of today to make such vision statements,” he said.
He reminded people they may think its “insurmountable and unachievable” but 70 years ago when Kondom Agaundo from Chimbu told expatriates the next generation would learn and communicate fluently in English, it happened and today the country has a load of “intellectual workhorse”.
He appealed to petroleum staff: “We must restore the strength and prominence of the department.
“It must be at the forefront of the economic departments.”
Kua told everyone he did not want to have meetings with investors or anyone that is work related outside of the department and staff.
“Let’s meet at the office rather than at the coffee shop,” he said.
Former Petroleum Minister Dr Fabian Pok meanwhile has issued caution that by 2024 the supply of gas worldwide will increase and demand will be less.
“If we think we have enough that the world can wait than we have a serious problem,” he said.
He added that the Papua LNG agreement will see the country reap more than what the PNG LNG in the highlands had to offer.
Dr Pok admitted there had been a lot of criticisms and critiques about the Papua LNG agreement but he was convinced that it was for the better of the country and his team had put in substantial effort to ensure it was beneficial to the state and key stake holders like the Gulf Provincial government and landowners.
“There is nothing sinister about it,” he said.
“When you sit on the chair, you are bound by what happens around the world,” Pok said referring to international gas markets supply and demand which influence business, he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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