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BP under pressure over LNG investment in Indonesian ‘colony’ of West Papua

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LNG Tangguh di Teluk Bintuni – IST

Jayapura, Jubi – Last year BP announced a massive new investment in a Liquefied Natural Gas facility in the Indonesian province of West Papua, which it claimed would create 10,000 new jobs. But supporters of West Papuan independence say it legitimizes Indonesian occupation.

BP has a checkered past when it comes to oil and gas exploration and now it is being accused of putting its foot in it again with an investment in Indonesia.

In 2016, a US judge approved an estimated US$20 billion settlement by BP Oil over the catastrophic 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill of hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

And in 2006, BP agreed an out of-court settlement with a group of Colombian farmers who had demanded US$28 million in compensation. They claimed the Ocensa pipeline in Colombia was a health risk and claimed paramilitary groups had threatened them for opposing the pipeline, although it was never alleged the paramilitaries were linked to BP.

Now the British company is embroiled in a new dispute in West Papua, a territory which became part of Indonesia in controversial circumstances in 1969.

Connor Woodman, a researcher with the Politics of Papua Project at the University of Warwick, told Sputnik that Indonesia took over the former Dutch colony after a bogus referendum.

“It was called the Act of Free Choice, although West Papuans call it the Act of No Choice. The Indonesian military handpicked 1,026 West Papuans who were bribed, cajoled and threatened into voting unanimously for what was Dutch New Guinea to join Indonesia,” Mr. Woodman told Sputnik.

In the intervening decades tens of thousands of Indonesian peasants from other parts of the archipelago were encouraged to settle in West Papua and they may now outnumber the indigenous population.

Indonesia has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in the territory, which forms the western half of the island of New Guinea. The eastern half is the independent state of Papua New Guinea, whose people are kinfolk of the West Papuans.

“There is a paucity of information about the situation on the ground. But 100,000 Papuans have died. There is rampant torture. NGOs and the media are banned and it is even illegal to fly the West Papuan flag,” Mr. Woodman told Sputnik.

The territory sits on vast and largely unexploited mineral resources, which explains why Indonesia is so keen not to give it up.

The Grasberg mine, operated by Freeport, is the world’s largest gold mine and the third largest copper mine in the world.

It is into this tumult that BP has stepped.

In 2016, BP announced they had decided to invest in the Tangguh Expansion Project, which will lead to the exploitation of 14.4 trillion cubic feet of LNG.

Most will be sold to the Indonesian electricity company PT PLN but some will also be supplied to the Kansai Electric Power Company from Japan.

“West Papua has become what Naomi Klein calls a ‘sacrifice zone’, a subset of humanity categorized as less than fully human, their poisoning in the name of progress somehow acceptable,” Mr. Woodman said.

“BP has been pretty successful at monopolizing the narrative on Tangguh. They have set up an independent advisory panel. It is questionable how independent it is but there is no doubt their record is better than Freeport.

“They did not want to repeat the PR disaster they had in Colombia so they have been careful about their security arrangements, although they are still collaborating with the Indonesian military,” said Mr. Woodman.

“LNG is less damaging than open cast mining so you won’t find the same level of concern from environmentalists.”

He said many West Papuans have been moved off their land and there are jealousies between those villages who BP have compensated and those they have not.

“But the fundamental problem with it is that it further ties the Indonesian regime into its control of West Papua. Having BP in there does lend legitimacy to Indonesian sovereignty and that is the number one issue for West Papuans,” Mr. Woodman told Sputnik.

The United Liberation Movement for West Papua has been demanding a fresh referendum on self-determination but so far, apart from Vanuatu and a handful of other tiny Pacific nations, no other government has supported the idea.

BP points out that it has committed to ensuring 85 percent of the skilled workforce at Tangguh are Papuan by 2029.

The firm’s Regional President Asia Pacific, Christina Verchere, said last year: “This final investment decision marks the culmination of many years of hard work by BP, our partners and the Indonesian government.”(*)

 

Source : sputniknews.com

Editor    : Zely Ariane

Economy

The government never take Papuan resource wealth, says Indonesian Vice President

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Wakil Presiden Jusuf Kalla – Bloomberg/Dimas Ardian

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla maintained that the central government had never taken the resource wealth of Papua for their benefit.

“The thought that the central government has been taking the Papua’s resource wealth is not true. In contrast, it’s the central government who provide aids for Papua, it’s like what we do for Aceh,” the vice president told reporters at the Vice Presidential Palace, Jakarta on Tuesday (11/12 / 2018).

The profit sharing of Freeport’s profits is an example of the government’s attention towards Papua.

Moreover, he said the number of funds disbursed by the central government to Papua exceeded the profits of Freeport in 2017.

“Freeport last year only paid a royalty tax just above IDR 10 trillion. Previously it was IDR 18 trillion, but now it decreased. Let’s say that the central government might receive about IDR 20 to 25 trillion from other revenues, but we transfer almost IDR 100 trillion for Papua,” said the vice president.

He further said that many efforts for arranging a dialogue involving both the central and local government and the local community have frequently made to find solutions for development in Papua. However, these efforts often are driven by the political interest of certain groups who want the independence of Papua.

Regarding the independence issue, Vice President Jusuf Kalla firmly said that the central government would not give that to Papua.

“Now, actually, the option of dialogue is also raising a new query whether it’s still applicable? Everything is for Papua, except the independence,” he said. (*)

Source: Antara

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

Local Government of Jayapura Regency promotes local food

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Jayapura Regent drumming ‘Tifa’ to open the Coordination Meeting of the Food Security Board in Jayapura Regency on Tuesday (10/30/2018) – Jubi / Engel Wally

Sentani, Jubi – Jayapura Regent Mathius Awoitauw highlighted the importance of the availability of local food supplies such as sago, fish, tubers and cocoa in Papua. It means that in every official occasion, the local food will serve as a snack or lunch.

“The local government supports the availability of local food stocks including sago-based food, cocoa, fish and tubers to support the local food security program in this region,” said the regent after opening the Jayapura Food Security Board Meeting at Jayapura Regent Office in Gunung Merah Sentani on Tuesday (30/10/2018).

Furthermore, the regent said the local government needs to address the issue of the local food as an alternative to rice. “From the health perspective, the local food is healthier. Therefore, ahead to the regional event such as PON 2020, the local food must represent our culture to visitors, give them an impression of the originality of our food,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tasrip, the Head of Food Security Office of Jayapura Office, said his office keep promoting the local food and conduct training for the local community on local food processing and consumption.

“We hope that through the Food Security Board meeting, there are recommendations to policymakers to jointly urge the local food consumption as well as to support the local food supplies,” he said.

Government to provide market and product mapping

To support the program, Jayapura Regent Mathius Awoitauw then asked the Food Security Board to help the local farmers and fishermen with a market for selling their local food products. The market will maintain the price; therefore the stocks of local food will be increased. “By providing the market, it means we have helped people’s livelihood,” said the regent.

He also hopes that the increase in local food consumption can be a joint movement of the local government and community to improve people’s prosperity and independence of society in the era of globalisation.

Meanwhile, the Head of Regional Planning and Development Board (Bappeda) of Jayapura Regency Hana Hokoyabi said so far they have conducted mapping on potential commodities, and now the local community is also involving in the cultivation and management strengthening system.

“For instance in Unurumguay sub-district, a sago factor managed by the local community has been built. The similar activities have also done in some villages. The local community makes sago flour from the raw sago using the machine. They then sell their products to the markets in Papua and outside Papua,” she said. (*)

 

Reporter: Engelbert Wally

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

Papua and PNG begin business relation

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Papua New Guinea’s Madang Governor Peter Yama left with the Governor of Indonesia’s Papua province, Lukas Enembe in Jayapura. October 2018 – Photo: Supplied

Indigenous West Papuans are exploring business opportunities in neighbouring Papua New Guinea, following high-level talks.

The governor of PNG’s Madang province this week visited his counterpart in Indonesia’s Papua province.
 
Peter Yama’s visit to Jayapura, where he had talks with Papua’s Lukas Enembe, followed a trip by the latter to Madang and other PNG provinces last month.
 
Mr Yama also met with Papua’s Indigenous Business Council to discuss how West Papuans can grow links to his province.
 
The council’s Merry Yoweni said they hope to visit Madang before the end of the year
 
“Hopefully what Madang offers for Papua can open for our local people to make any tpe of business with them. So we will have a meeting next week to decide about this [the timing of a trip to PNG]. So if we can get to Madang, that would be great, to see the opportunity there directly.”
 
Ms Yoweni welcomed Mr Yama’s offer of having business channels explored between the two sides of New Guinea.
 
“Before we cannot go easily to go to PNG to make business with our neighbour,” she explained.
 
Ms Yoweni said the signs that the provincial governments were willing to open up links signalled a good opportunity, purely about economics and unrelated to politics.
 
Meanwhile, the two governors signed a Memorandum of Understanding for co-operation as sister provinces.
 
The leaders agreed to explore co-operation in fields including industry and trade, tourism and culture, infrastructure and transportation, education and training, health, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining as well as search and rescue among other areas.
 
Following his Jayapura visit, Mr Yama travelled to Indonesia’s national capital Jakarta.(*)
Source: RNZI

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