JOE FORMEX WASIA
Agriculture provides a subsistence livelihood for the bulk of the population but minerals, including oil, natural gas, copper, gold and nickel, account for more than 70% of export earnings.
For years many mining companies have been developing mining projects, but the oil and gas industry is not very familiar although, for 21 years, PNG has had the Kutubu Oil project 650 kilometres north-east of Port Moresby.
Much talked about now is PNG’s impending liquefied natural gas project in Hela Province - the second oil and gas project and a giant one.
The PNG LNG project is operated by Esso Highlands Limited, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, in joint venture with Oil Search, PNG’s largest oil and gas producer, the PNG government’s Independent Public Business Corporation and other companies.
Everyone, including the government and people of PNG, has high expectations and hopes for a better future as the Gross Domestic Product is expected to double as PNG LNG moves into it operational stage.
However, the problem of mismanagement and corruption by elected leaders and their cronies and bureaucrats remains unresolved.
We cannot expect miracles from heaven if we are not accountable in handling the billions of kina from existing projects and other revenue sources in PNG.
We have a few other oil and gas projects coming up. Gulf LNG will be developed by Inter Oil and the PNG government, Western LNG by Talisman Energy and some others. In the mining industry, as the same time, new projects are mushrooming everywhere.
It’s about time we managed these massive funds with transparency, integrity and with good governance. If we continue to fail in this area we will have no one to blame but ourselves.