According to the below article, partnerships with the community guides ExxonMobil's security strategy - it is the PNG state who is selecting to use a more punitive approach to resource security. This is a common argument employed by resource operators in PNG to dodge responsibility for security force killings and brutality (e.g. BCL in Bougainville, and Barrick Gold in Porgera). Whether the evidence supports this claim remains to be seen - if evidence ever comes to light (which is unlikely).
Looming Election puts PNG LNG Project at Risk
Islands Business, 9 May 2012
ESSO Highlands Ltd (EHL) subsidiary operator of ExxonMobil led PNG LNG Project says it is committed to conducting business in a way that protects the safety of its personnel, facilities and nearby communities.
A spokesperson from EHL responding to intelligent analysis cautioning about the looming general election related violence in the Highlands and aggrieved landowners of the project sites that may pose a threat to the multibillion kina project said “partnerships with the community remain the underpinning foundation of our approach to security around our facilities. The decision related to the call-out of Defence forces rests entirely with Government,” the spokesperson said.
An intelligence analyst has predicted that there is a possibility of a disruption of the multibillion kina project and other major project in the Highlands by aggrieved resource owners and tribal groups Brittany Damora, Asia Pacific Intelligence Analyst at AKE Group, based in London and Singapore last week predicted the risk that tribal conflict will disrupt preparations for the LNG project in the Southern Highlands in the short-term remains ever present, and will increasingly intensify as the project continues.
Brittany said “there is evidence of amplified unrest in PNG as rival groups seek to capitalise on the increased capital flowing into the country. Attacks on the facilities directly linked with the LNG project are likely over the period of construction as clans try to use force to extract concessions or, more likely, fight with rival groups over what has already been allocated in terms of royalties. Increased criminality in the short and medium term is also likely. Further disruptions to the projects will likely be threatened unless contracts are negotiated and outstanding payments to landowners are received".