Kua: Walking away was best
PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua says the decision to walk away from a deal regarding the P’nyang gas project in Western was made in the “best interest of the country and people”.
The minister, in an interview with The National yesterday, said since Friday, which was the deadline for discussions, he had been getting positive comments from leaders and the public on the decision the State, through the state negotiating team, had made.
“Since negotiations collapsed on Friday, a majority of the people, and the leaders that I have spoken to, are clapping their hands,” he said. “They are happy. “They say this is the single most positive thing that has ever happened to this country. “They are very happy about the fact that there is no deal because they are fed up of not receiving a fair share."
“They are clapping their hands because the state negotiating team has done the right thing in asking for what is fair. “The resource in the ground has been there for millions of years so it can stay in the ground for another few years, it’s not a problem."
“We won’t do a deal in P’nyang but other deals will still go ahead. “We will still raise revenue in other areas to develop our country. “P’nyang is not the only place that has development potential for us. “We are a developing nation. “We need money for all kinds of things that needs to be developed and we have to make it in this resource, an available resource. “But if our partners refuse to give us a fair share, we will not be able to deliver up to the people’s expectations.”
Meanwhile, Kua further explained the licence that ExxonMobil had for the development of the project. “The State does acknowledge that Exxon has some residual rights to the petroleum retention licence,” he said.
“They have in accordance with our law, filed an application for a development licence. “What they have is a retention licence.
“Our law says that before that licence expires, you can apply for a development licence and if you do so, your rights under the retention licence continue even though it had already expired until your application for development licence is fully decided by the petroleum development board.
“That’s the reason why, we were able to do the negotiations.”