Where is the PNG LNG money? Did PM skim K6Billion and gave K21Billion to PNG?

by GREG KONDE

THE first liquefied natural gas cargo of the PNG LNG project was loaded onto the Spirit of Hela ship on May 14, 2014.  The three markets for the PNG liquified natural gas are Japan,  China and Taiwan (primarily Japan).  The project sends 6.9 million tons of LNG to the three Asian markets per year.
Founding father of the nation Sir Michael Somare said in the July 22, 2016 Post Courier that he “cannot understand how our economy is managed. Despite 250 shipments of Oil and Gas so far, there is nothing to show for (it).” He said one shipment is around USD$220 million and questioned why the government keep borrowing.  He stated that Prime Minister Peter O'Neill should tell the people the truth about the economic situation affecting the country.
Exxon Mobil receives the largest portion of the income – that is to be expected as they invested far more than anyone else, an amount of $US20B (K50B).

Through Kumul Petroleum Holding Limited, Papua New Guinea holds a 16.575% interest in the Exxon Mobil PNG LNG project. In October 2016 the PNG government began receiving its share of funds from the project.

In the April 18, 2017 issue of The National Nixon Duban, Madang MP and Minister for Petroelum and Energy, reported that Papua New Guinea “earns US$50 million (K160 million) from every shipment of liquefied natural gas exported”.

In the May 18, 2017 Post Courier ExxonMobil managing director Andrew Barry stated, “Just ten days ago we celebrated our 300th cargo-almost three years to the date that our first cargo set sail for the first customer in Asia.”  He said there was more good news - that being that the firm had been told that the PNG LNG project fields’ resource base is 25 percent larger than previously assessed.

As of July 1, 2017, at least 310 LNG shipments have been delivered.  Do the math.  It turns out to about 8.4 shipments per month.  The bottom line is that the nation of Papua New Guinea, which invested approximately $US3.34B (K8.35B) in the PNG LNG project, has at this point in time (July 2017) taken in somewhere around $US9 billion = K27 billion.

K27 billion kina!!!  A very, very good return on a K3.34 billion investment. In the year 2016 the PNG government took in at least K15 billion.   Many readers are aware that the annual budget of the PNG government over the last few years is K12-15 billion. The income from the PNG LNG project is sufficient to cover the nation’s entire budget for the year 2016!  The big question: “What happened to the money?”

Only the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and a select few know and they aren’t talking.  The LNG money from Japan, China and Taiwan does not flow into PNG banks.  Instead Mr. O’Neill has arranged that it be channeled into a Singapore bank.

No one except the Prime Minister and a few others know how much of the K27 billion has been sent to PNG banks and how much has been and continues to be diverted into the Prime Minister’s personal bank account in Singapore.   Did the Prime Minister skim K3 billion for himself and then send K24 billion to PNG?  Or did he take K6 billion and send K21 billion to PNG?  No one knows.

Every MP – including those in the Prime Minister’s party – ought to be jumping up and down on the tables of Parliament and demanding answers on the PNG LNG funds.  The Post Courier and The National should be shouting from the rooftops about this criminal activity.  The funds need to go directly from Japan to a PNG bank.  The people of Papua New Guinea are suffering greatly because of the mismanagement by government officials.

If the Prime Minister gets re-elected and forms the next government, the problem will continue and the economy will further deteriorate.  Somebody needs to do something!  The MPs need to take action!

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