Image Caption: Peter Larden – MD ExxonMobil (PNG) Ltd, at the 2021 PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference and Exhibition

01 Dec 2021

THE PNG LNG PROJECT is truly a world class operation. This is a testament to the hard work of the ExxonMobil PNG workforce, and the strength of collaboration between our organization and the National Government, the Provincial governments, our joint venture partners, the international financial community, and the diverse landowner communities stretching from Hela through to Central Province.

This collaboration has resulted in PNG LNG building a reputation for excellence, while positioning Papua New Guinea as a significant player in the LNG market. Since 2014, customers know PNG LNG for its reliability and incredibly in 2020, we achieved 99 per cent uptime.

Reflecting on the past year should fill all Project stakeholders with a sense of pride. Standout performance areas include safety, the environment, production optimization as well as accelerated nationalization of the PNG LNG workforce.

For a project still in its relative infancy, only seven years old, these are defining achievements when compared to other global LNG projects at the same stage of their lifecycles. Despite the challenges faced in 2020 and 2021, these were still incredible years for our Project.

In September 2020 a new daily production record was set at 9.3 million tonnes per annum and August 2021 was the best month of production on record, sustaining an average rate of 9 MTA over a full 30 days, for the first time ever. In addition, last year the Project achieved its best safety performance since production began in 2014 and, pending a safe December, we’re on track to do that again this year.

Our processing sites and a number of contractors further extended their runs without a significant injury. This involves team work with a focus on the fundamentals, and doing it the right way every day.

As a contribution to the nation, we are proud that up to October of this year, PNG LNG has generated over K11 billion in revenue to the State and Landowners, which support the provision of services and infrastructure to all Papua New Guineans. In addition, over K15 billion kina in business opportunities have been generated for local PNG companies.

While these results and outcomes are impressive, we only pursue these activities when they meet our high standards safety, security, and the environment.

Wherever we operate, we are committed to delivering the highest standards of sustainability and environmental protection. The same culture that guides our daily work also shapes our efforts to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage and unique biodiversity.

Firstly, about greenhouse gas emissions. ExxonMobil Corporation, globally, is aggressively reducing emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Over the next six years, Exxon Mobil plans to invest more than US$15 billion on low carbon solutions and technologies. Needless to say, this significant increase in spending will accelerate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas from our facilities, including PNG.

Third party benchmarking shows that the PNG LNG facilities are already at the leading edge in terms of GHG intensity. But by investing in new technology, maintaining high levels of reliability, and focussing on flare reduction programs we continue to forecast improvements in our greenhouse gas performance.

In fact, greenhouse gas intensity and flaring emissions in 2020 were at their lowest levels since the start of production. More broadly, our environmental specialists work closely with the Conservation and Environment Protection Agency to deliver our environmental strategy.

For example, in caring for the environment, regeneration monitoring surveys are conducted every two years across our project areas along the entire pipeline route, and the most recent results, (see chart), indicate vegetation regeneration is progressing well.

Secondly, we’re partnering with local organizations to support conservation workshops for national biodiversity practitioners. One example is our support for a Conservation Management Study conducted through a scholarship program.

This initiative has so far seen 89 students graduate in the field of Biodiversity Conservation with 10 earning post-graduate diplomas. The effort to achieve these results cannot be taken for granted.

Producing and exporting liquefied natural gas is a complex operation. Central to achieving these results is world class organization. Our staff are required to have deep knowledge to solve complex problems and lead diverse teams in a dynamic environment.

INVESTMENT IN WORKFORCE IS SETTING GLOBAL STANDARDS

So, investment in our Papua New Guinean workforce is central to who we are as a company. Papua New Guineans are integral to all aspects of operations… and you can all take pride that they’re setting the highest standards for the LNG industry, not just in PNG, but globally.

Only seven years into production, over 91 per cent of our workforce are now Papua New Guineans, with almost 80 holding leadership roles. Based on other ExxonMobil operations at the same point in their lifecycles, this level of nationalization is well ahead of the norm.

By the end of 2018, all maintenance scheduler positions at the LNG Plant and Hides Gas Conditioning Plant were nationalised. September 2020 witnessed the first all Papua New Guinean control room shift at Hides. Today, all control room technicians are Papua New Guineans.

We’re also proud that our workforce is composed of 30 per cent women, one of the highest representations across our global affiliates. Here women hold roles across engineering, safety, environmental, IT, national content, procurement, media and communications and security.

And they’re not just leading the way within ExxonMobil PNG, they are also engaged across a range of women’s empowerment initiatives in their communities. To achieve these outcomes, we’ve focused on building a strong and vibrant organisational culture that encourages everyone to strive for excellence.

PNG EXPERTS WILL BE IN DEMAND ABROAD

Our Em Pasin bilong ExxonMobil long PNG program, grounded in safety, security, the environment, integrity, teamwork and excellence, has instilled a sense of collective pride and a passion for being the best that we can be.

Our global business also provides opportunities for overseas appointments. In fact, Papua New Guinean staff have taken roles in a range of international locations where we operate, including our offices in the United States.

I expect this will grow further as the next generation LNG facilities are commissioned and the expertise built right here in PNG is in demand elsewhere. I’m incredibly proud we’re not only building a pipeline of experienced Papua New Guineans to support our own business, but we’re developing the next generation of intellectual leaders.

The PNG LNG Project is now progressing into a new phase of development. In July this year, I was pleased to announce the restart of the Angore Project in the Hela province, which was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Current programs will see construction of a new wellpad, associated wells and facilities, and a pipeline connecting the Angore gas resource to the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant. Once complete, this project will support additional revenues to the State as well as royalties to landowners.

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