U.S. Markets close in 17 mins

Exxon halts work on PNG gas pipeline amid civil strife in highlands

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Exxon Mobil is displayed on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) stopped construction on its Angore gas pipeline in Papua New Guinea's strife-hit highlands late last month after building sites were vandalised, the company said on Friday.

"All work at the Angore wellpads and pipeline construction has been suspended and all impacted personnel are in the process of being demobilized or reassigned," an ExxonMobil PNG spokeswoman said by email, adding it was halted late in June.

The 11-km (7-mile) pipeline is being built to connect the Angore gas field with the Hides gas conditioning plant, and the stopwork does not affect production there, she added.

Papua New Guinea's government declared a state of emergency in the region last month and sent in troops after rioters went on a rampage protesting a failed court challenge to a provincial governor's election.

Pictures on PNG's EMTV Online in June showed burnt out heavy machinery and a fire burning in a shipping container at the site in Angore, which suffered "significant vandalism," Exxon's statement said. It gave no timeframe for the resumption of work.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Vyas Mohan)