Four more deaths blamed on ExxonMobil LNG project
Four more Papua New Guinean’s are dead and two are in a critical condition after further violent clashes between ingigenous groups fighting over land ownership and benefits from the huge ExxonMobil liquified natural gas project in Papua New Guinea.
These latest deaths, close to the capital Port Moresby, follow the reported killing of up to eleven people in tribing fighting over benefits from the project in the Southern Highlands about a week ago.
The latest deaths occurred over the weekend in a dispute between the Boera and Porebada villages over who owns the site where the LNG project liquefaction plant, storage and shipping facilities will be built at a cost of some US$7 billion.
Although the contract for the initial construction work has already been awarded, to a Japanese company, these latest deaths seem to confirm that ExxonMobil has failed to do the most basic preparatory work with local landowners and that there will be plenty of further violence as the project is implemented.
A mobile police unit is now trying to restore calm in the area but in the meantime road construction works have been stopped. There is no indication from ExxonMobil about whether it is satisfied it has the prior informed consent of local people and what steps it will now take to improve the situation on the ground, both in Port Moresby, where the shipping will take place, and the Southern Highlands where the gas is located.
In the meantime, unless urgent steps are taken, the LNG project seems destined to further rubbish the human rights record of the oil, gas and mining industries when operating in PNG and other less developed countries.
Further report in the Sydney Morning Herald – http://bit.ly/c4FaW0