Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has announced the payment today (March 10 2022) of K33.7 million – K19.7 million cash and K14 million project component – to upstream PNG LNG Project landowners of Petroleum Development License (PDL) 7 in Hela.

The payment was made through the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC).

PM Marape said PDL 7 was one of a series of upstream PDLs that had been problematic with ongoing court cases that had affected landowner identification clan vetting, hence, benefits had been accruing in trust accounts since first LNG exports in 2014.

“Today, after a long delay, the first-ever payment has been made,” he said.

“I commend the landowners and their leaders for assisting the Government and the Department of Petroleum, and the developers, by completing their clan-vetting exercise.

“The landowners were ready, their accounts were opened, and today K19.7 million was distributed in cash to over 200 accounts.

“Another K14 million project component was also delivered as part of the 30 per cent earmarked for project infrastructure.

“Well done to all PDL 7 landowners, and I appeal to PDL 1, PDL 8, PDL 9 and all others that are in dispute to solve their in-house matters before they can be paid.

“All their money has been sitting in trust accounts for so long, however, they need to resolve their landowner issues just like PDL 7 has done – which has resulted in the K19.7 million being paid and K14 million to project area landowners.

“I appeal to PDL 1, 8 and 9 to get behind Government, work to complete landowner identification, and withdraw the court cases that are pending.”

PM Marape commended PDL 7 leaders and educated people for ensuring that landowners were paid their dues.

“It gives me great satisfaction that the first batch of equity has been distributed to landowners at the project area,” he said.

“I also commend Hela Governor Hon. Philip Undialu for his leadership, as well as MRDC Managing-Director Augustine Mano and Department of Petroleum, as well as Department of Prime Minister and NEC Secretary Ivan Pomaleu for being present for the occasion today.”