US financed Exxon-Mobil project draws violence
By Doug Norlen
In December of 2009, the U.S. Ex Im Bank gave a record $3 Billion dollars in financing to ExxonMobil for a controversial Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea. NGOs and Civil Society groups in Papua New Guinea and abroad warned Ex Im Bank that this project’s pipeline would slice through tribal lands and stir conflicts among local people. And, as predicted, that’s exactly what happened.
Early this week, an outbreak of violence was reportedly sparked by the recent death of a child near the project site. Villagers reportedly attacked employees of an international contractor to the gas project which led to the shutdown of work at one of the LNG project sites. Disputes between local landowners and the $15 billion dollar LNG project are nothing new and have been reported several times since the project was sanctioned in 2009. The project was disrupted even last week when landowners protested that they hadn’t received the benefits they have been promised from this project. In February 2010, four people were reportedly killed when fighting broke out over a land dispute and there have been several other shutdowns of the project due to similar issues with landowners and tribal communities.
This is the latest incident of subsequent violence that has resulted from this project and is clearly a concern that the U.S. Ex Im Bank downplayed as they raced to approve this massive subsidy for ExxonMobil. This is yet another example of negative local impacts of Ex Im Bank’s global obsession with fossil fuel projects.