PERTH - The Papua New Guinea government is preparing to deploy troops to the country's Southern Highlands province to quell landowner protests that have halted work on Exxon Mobil's $15.7 billion gas export project, according to PNG media.
Papua New Guinea's National Executive Council agreed late Wednesday to send troops to LNG project sites in the Hides area to "restore law and order," The National newspaper reported on Thursday.
The newspaper said Prime Minister Peter O'Neill had originally planned to call a state of emergency in the area, but downgraded to a troop call out after local landowners agreed to lift a blockade of the Hides site.
It said the government would announce details later on Thursday. The government could not be immediately contacted for comment.
Exxon's Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas plant, known as PNG LNG, is the country's biggest-ever resource undertaking and is expected to boost GDP by 20 percent.