Project

Papua New Guinea: Exxon Mobil's Gas Project

In Papua New Guinea, everyone is talking about Exxon Mobil's massive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. Scheduled to start shipping natural gas to Asia by 2014, the multi-billion dollar project is seen as a heaven-sent opportunity to boost Papua New Guinea’s gross domestic product and quickly change the face of the country. Hungry for development, PNG citizens are hoping Exxon Mobil will provide them with the public services and the jobs their government has never been able to create.

But the project raises the issue of land tenure as more than 60,000 PNG people hold "customary ownership" of the lands where gas and oil will be either extracted or transported. Given the central part that ancestral land plays in PNG people’s identity, livelihood and food security, there is a risk that all of this will be bartered for dollars. How will people react to the colossal amount of cash they will receive in the form of royalties? What about those who won’t be getting anything?

Started in 2010, the project’s first phase quickly became controversial as inflation increased inequality, and some teachers and healthcare workers left their work for the lucrative LNG project. Resettlement, cash distribution and training and employment issues have already generated discontent among the landowners, and it seems that some of the first cash windfalls were misappropriated and quickly spent, leading to family breakdown and social problems.

Although the project is obviously injecting a lot of cash into the country and improving the lives of many, doubts and frustrations regarding its mid- to long-term benefits are growing and some fear the situation will degenerate into conflict.

June 20, 2013|

Papua New Guinea: The Gas Boom

A project run by ExxonMobil to supply China and Japan with liquefied gas for the next 30 years is changing life in Papua New Guinea with wildly inequitable results for local people.

January 28, 2013|

Modern Life in Papua New Guinea

Exxon Mobil's natural gas project in Papua New Guinea could be a blessing for the economy or a threat to the 60,000 people who can claim "customary ownership" of tribal lands.

January 23, 2013|

Papua New Guinea: Life In and Around Tari

Liquified natural gas exploration in Papua New Guinea has led to significant investments by Exxon Mobil, but the costs may outweigh the benefits for the local population.

October 26, 2012|

This Week in Review: Salvation or Doom?

Pulitzer Center Senior Editor Tom Hundley highlights this week's reporting on Exxon Mobil’s multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas project in Papua New Guinea.