PRESS RELEASE – 15TH MAY, 2018
The Resource Owners Federation of Papua New Guinea is yet to establish, if Mr. Peter Botten of Oil Search Limited, is right in blaming the government for the lack of payment of royalties to the landowners of the LNG project in Papua New Guinea. Mr. Botten last week, was said to have blamed the government of Papua New Guinea for not paying landowners their royalty entitlements, although the licensee or the developers have paid the State the royalty entitlements of the landowners, as required by law.
The Federation understands that the reason the government is unable to pay the royalties to the landowners, is because the government does not know who the landowners are and how much land each of the landowner groups contribute to the LNG project.
The Federation is, however, aware that Section 47 of the Oil and Gas Act of 1998, requires the licensee to undertake a landownership study to identify the landowners of the license area. The Licensee or licensees are those companies that are the developers of the LNG project, and not the government of Papua New Guinea.
The Federation calls on Mr. Botten to further confirm or deny that the Licensee had carried out the landownership study as required by the Act and if so, who those landowners are. If the licensee has not carried out such a study, then it is reasonable for any reasonable person to assume therefore, that the licensee is in breach of section 47 of the Act and all consequential laws following thereon from section 47 to section 53 of the Act, which require the attendance of the development forums and signing of any agreements by the appointed representatives of the respective landowners.