An earthquake in Papua New Guinea rattled ExxonMobil’s gas project on the island nation to the tune of $19 billion, and a backlash against the U.S. company’s activities is becoming more difficult to contain.
A group of locals are blaming the activities of Exxon and its local partners for the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit the island on February 26. Aftershocks after the initial quake compounded the effects of the natural disaster.
The project, known as PNG LNG, is recognized as one of the world’s most successful liquefied natural gas projects, but the foreign presence is becoming more and more unpopular amongst locals. The country’s Vice Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Manasseh Makiba told Reuters that Exxon should open an official inquiry to identify the causes of the aftershocks to address the locals’ concerns.