Thursday 11 June 2020
Prime Minister, James Marape has supported the Oil and Gas (Amendment) Bill 2020 to allow the country take control of its own economic development.
He said the proposed Amendment Bill will give Papua New Guineans control of the extent and manner in which the oil and gas is extracted and developed.
“No country can control its destiny if it only has control of the politics and not the agenda for its economic advancement.”
When supporting the passage of the Oil and Gas (Amendment) Bill 2020 in Parliament yesterday, Mr Marape said the proposed Bill, “will undo historical legacies, which have made our country become a generous profit centre for powerful foreign investors in oil and gas.”
Mr Marape said key provisions of the Oil and Gas Act 1998 have outlived their usefulness and will be replaced with new amendments that will enable the government and people take control of the country’s economic agenda.
Other provisions of the Oil and Gas Act that regulate and authorize the development of large projects will also be changed to enable the country to equally benefit from the total share of project revenue.
“This means taking control of exploration activities through to development.”
“Sections 54, 56, 57, 183, 184 and 185, which authorize the undertaking of large Projects, will be amended in the Oil and Gas Act to be more responsive to our national interest agenda, but still enable foreign investors to make a reasonable return on investment.
“Sections 54, 56 and 57 facilitate application for and grant of Petroleum Development License. No Project can proceed without a PDL.”
He however expressed concern that those sections were more supportive and protective of the ‘commercial interests’ of foreign investors.
“Also concerning are Agreements to which the State is a party. Those Agreements are entered into under Sections 183, 184, and 185.
Mr Marape said those sections place the State at a disadvantage when negotiating the Agreements, and added they also support and protect ‘commercial interests’ of foreign investors.
“The country cannot continue to be held hostage by its very own Oil and Gas Laws. Attracting foreign investors and capital is important, but this cannot remain unchecked forever.
“Like all countries, PNG grows and changes with time as do the people of PNG. As a tool for development, the law must be adjusted to either reflect or promote those changes,” Mr Marape said.