THAT huge transformational enterprise, the Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project operated by ExxonMobil, has reached another milestone when late last week it switched on its turbine at the Hide gas conditioning plant for testing and commissioning.
This marked another milestone after four years construction work at different sites. The US$19 billion PNG LNG project is now more than 95% complete and remains on track to deliver its first product in the second half of this year.
In the eyes of many, especially local communities, employees and contractors, it may mean something less than when they first saw the flames at the plant site, but it is quite an achievement.
The current gas flow is from Oil Search’s Kutubu central processing facility in the Southern Highlands to Hides. The Kutubu gas project has been in operation for more than 20 years now, being originally constructed and operated by Chevron Niugini Limited and later taken over by PNG’s leading oil company, Oil Search, about 10 years ago. During this period of the project, the companies extracted only oil.
The project construction phase will end in few months when the final touches are made to refinery, pipeline and conditioning plant at Hides. The plant construction in Hides is now about 98% complete and spine line connections are expected to complete in few weeks.
The plant construction teams als have started mass demobilisation. This affects some 19, 000 workers as the construction phase come to an end. Very soon PNG will have massive revenue flow and the country’s GDP is expected to double
The PNG Government, the project operator ExxonMobil, its co-venturer Oil Search and other partners in the project will have full smiles on their faces in the next couple of months.
In a country dominated by rugged mountains, deep valleys, fast flowing rivers, rough seas and swamps, it’s never an easy task for such a huge project but they have made it through.
It is expected that Papua New Guinea will have steady economic growth as we move into the operational phase of the project. However, fog and clouds surround the PNG side of the project - will PNG’s very own natives, the resource owners, benefit from the huge amount of money being earned from their resources?
If our government, elected members of parliament, bureaucrats and contractors continue to abuse their roles by involving in corrupt practices, we will have no one else to blame for ruining our nation and its future.