Tag Archives: Exxon-Mobil

ExxonMobil Resumes LNG Production in Papua New Guinea

Photo: Michael Nagle

EMTV | 13 April 2018 

ExxonMobil said today that production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has safely resumed at the PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea following a temporary shutdown of operations after a severe earthquake occurred in the region on Feb. 26. LNG exports are expected to resume soon.

One train is currently operating at the LNG plant near Port Moresby. The plant’s second train is expected to restart as production is increased over time. During the period that production was shut-in, ExxonMobil was able to complete unrelated maintenance scheduled for later in the year to allow for more efficient operations in the months ahead.

“Resuming LNG production ahead of our projected eight-week time-frame is a significant achievement for ExxonMobil, our joint-venture partners and our customers,” said Neil W. Duffin, President of ExxonMobil Production Company. “We will continue to support those communities impacted by the earthquake as we work toward fully restoring our operations. We hope our contributions and assistance will provide comfort to those in need”.

ExxonMobil is supporting multiple local and international relief agencies involved in the humanitarian response to the earthquake. In addition to the company’s previously announced $1 million contribution for humanitarian relief, ExxonMobil crews have donated and delivered more than 37 tons of food, 14 tons of drinking water, 600 tarpaulins used as emergency shelters, 1,000 solar lights for households, 20 larger solar lighting units for institutions, as well as other essential supplies including water purification tablets, cooking aids and hygiene kits.

The company is also assisting with the restoration of health care facilities and community food gardens, and is providing resources to help the government address the significant task of restoring roads in the Highlands region.

“While a lot of work remains to be done, we are confident that with the support of all our partners and stakeholders, we can help our friends and neighbors recover from this tragic natural disaster,” said Andrew Barry, managing director of ExxonMobil PNG.

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Exxon expects Papua New Guinea LNG project to restart in May

Sudarshan Varadhan | Reuters | April 11, 2018

Exxon Mobil expects to restart production from its PNG LNG project in Papua New Guinea at the beginning of May after it was shut following an earthquake in February, Exxon LNG Vice President Emma Cochrane said on Wednesday.

The $19 billion LNG facility, opened in 2014 in a remote location in one of Asia’s poorest and most politically troubled countries, has been closed since the powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake.

The project is considered one of the world’s best-performing LNG operations, despite the challenge of drilling for gas and building a plant and pipeline in the remote Papua New Guinea jungle. Australia’s Oil Search and Santos are Exxon’s main partners in the project.

The LNG export terminal may not be able to produce at full capacity at first and will likely ramp up gradually, Cochrane said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to start in the beginning of May. We are actually ahead of schedule,” Cochrane told Reuters.

ExxonMobil has said there has not been any indication that the 700 km (435 mile) pipeline that delivers gas to its coastal LNG plant had been damaged by the quake, which flattened villages, killed dozens of people and spoilt water sources.

Cochrane also said the company has recertified the reserves in its P’nyang field in Papua New Guinea, and the reserves are higher than it previously thought.

“That gives us the potential to expand the facilities in the P’nyang field for the PNG LNG foundation project,” she said.

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Govt Urged To Investigate Cause Of Earthquake

Locals surround a house that was covered by a landslide in the town of Mendi after the February earthquake. Francis Ambrose/via REUTERS

Post Courier | April 9, 2018

The government has been urged to investigate the cause of the recent earthquake that caused destruction and loss of lives in the Highlands provinces of the country.

Sinasina Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua said during grievance debate in Parliament that the people wanted answers whether the earthquake was natural or induced by exploration of oil and gas in the area.

“The series of the earthquake is of an unprecedented type both in its intensity and in its frequency, it is unprecedented usually you have a one-off earthquake of a certain magnitude and its over, but this one is almost like continuous, it hits off at a very high level and it maintains a high level for many days and even weeks and that is something completely unprecedented and somehow it coincides with the major projects, the gas extraction projects we have on-going in the country,” Mr Kua said

“Within the period of two years of the commencement of the gas project, big earthquake happens, it hits precisely the area where the projects are located, so it raises an obvious question in our minds. Is it mere coincidence an occurence by an act of nature or is there some connectivity to the human activities that is taking place in those localities? It is important for us to know, it is important also for our people to know what the answers are.

“For example if we find that it is induced by human activities then that knowledge alone will help us mitigate future incidence of that nature, and to take evasive action and that is within our powers to do that and if we did not know or if we refuse to know the answer than we will be inviting future further incidence of similar devastating magnitudes, more dense, more injuries, more damage to property and the environment and we will continue to come back to pull our hairs out trying to understand, find answers to do relief and do restoration.”

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O’NEIL GOVERNMENT NOT INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT THE CAUSE OF DEVASTATING EARTHQUAKE

Panga-Kulu Anda-Harapa | PNG Blogs | April 06, 2018 

After hearing Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s response on the floor of Parliament to requests by several MPs for an Independent Inquiry into the cause of the recent earthquake in Hela and 5 other provinces, PNG and all interested friends of PNG can conclude that the O’Neil government is not interested, and will go out of its way to mislead the people of PNG and their Parliament.

In other democratic countries led by leaders mandated by the people, and have concern for their electors, the head of government wouldn’t want to leave any stone unturned and the cause established. In this case it wouldn’t only be in the interest of the O’Neil governments standing and integrity among governments of other civilized nations, but it will be in the interest of future generations of PNG and prevention of the repeat of such a calamity.

To any responsible Prime Minister and his government, alarm bells will be ringing especially when the epicentre of the earthquake is less than 3 km from the processed water re-injection well (at Tokaju, Hides4, Hela Province) of a major Oil/gas project.

The questions-without-notice was simply for the report on the cause of the earthquake to be tabled in Parliament, if any done and if not then an Independent inquiry be set up.

PM O’Neill just brushed off the question saying “…the Australians are doing the investigation” and he further went on to talk about a “ring-of-fire” and tectonic plates etc and declared on the floor of Parliament that the earthquake was not caused by the activities of the natural gas/oil companies operating in Hides, Hela Province.

First of all how can conclusions be drawn about whether the earthquake and its aftershocks were tectonic in origin as PM O’Neill has? and to be fair, how can the opponents (including myself) claim it was triggered by gas extraction and water injection at Hides without a full independent inquiry conducted with inputs from a wide range of specialists from around the world?

The PM informed Parliament that Geoscience Australia (GA) has made the finding that the earthquake was due to natural causes, and that he will provide a copy of that report. Well for the PMs information the GA report is already in the public domain and there is more questions unanswered which is understandable when a reports main or hidden agenda is to hide some truth and sets off from false premise. The GA is an ark of the Australian Government that works Lock step with the mining and gas industry, therefore Independent seismological analysis needs to be carried out before the Prime Minister can make his conclusion.

The constitution of these Independent team needs to include PNG’s own seismologists based at Kokopo and Manam.

Having set up that independent team, the PM need to “guide” it with a Terms of Reference” ie, the parameters within which the investigation is to be carried out. Part of the TOR should include the inspection by the team of Oil Search and Exxon Mobil data.. This is a must for the team because how can induced seismicity be ruled out without detailed independent analysis of on the ground damage and data from Oil Search and Exxon Mobil as to their activities in the 5 years leading up to 24 February 2017.

The team should carryout a detailed independent examination of gas reservoir pressurisation activities and wastewater reinjection activities at Hides.

Independent examination is essential with the help of Harvard University to analyze the earthquake waveform etc in order to confirm the alleged epicentre of the initial quake and subsequent aftershocks which were located very shallow and in close proximity to the Hides gasfield.

The geological and seismological experts must be carefully selected with no conflicts of interest with the gas industry. What guarantee can Exxon Mobil give that future expansion of the gasfield won’t induce seismic damage that could trigger or exacerbate the highly unstable geology of the Hides region? Wouldn’t that be the concern of the Prime Minister????, and SHOULDN’T THAT BE THE ONLY REASON WHY A PRIME MINISTER WOULD WANT AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION???

As it is at the moment PM O’Neill is shirking his responsibility. Period!! He is shifting his responsibility to Australia and elsewhere and doesn’t have the people in his heart to do what ONLY Peter O’Neill as Prime Minister can do. That is the setting up of a Commission Of Inquiry. By law, the PM is the only person in PNG (not even Parliament or the GG) mandated to institute a COI, but it appears that Parliament and PNG has been misled by O’Neill to settle for the second best, which is already questionable given Australia’s financial interest through EFIC in the PNGLNG project.

The Prime Minister cannot rely on anyone else but himself to exercise his legal mandate to establish the truth for many reasons, least of all his concern how the future generation (and history) will judge him regarding how he handled this catastrophe during his watch.

A Commission Of Inquiry needs to be set up by PM O’Neill. The COI should be headed by a Judge of the National/Supreme Court (as has been the practice), with a transparent legally approved TOR, (as is supposed to be the case) housed at and organizational/secretarial support provided by the Department of Prime Minister and NEC, Commission of Inquiry Division headed by Director General Mathew Yuwangu (as is their duty).

Without that, the Prime Minister stands Judged, and weighed to be found wanting.

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PNG earthquake’s political aftershocks require careful handling

People receive aid after the earthquake. Photo: Reuters

Paul Flanagan* | East Asia Forum | 6 April 2018

The 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 26 February 2018 killed over 100 people and left 270,000 in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. There have been dozens of physical aftershocks. But the most damaging aftershock may be the earthquake’s undermining of the ‘social licence’ of the affected areas’ PNG LNG project, which is responsible for 40 per cent of PNG’s exports.

The immediate disaster relief effort is proceeding slowly but surely. The Highlands Highway, a lifeline through PNG’s Highlands Region, has been cleared, although many important side roads remain blocked. In the affected areas, health centres were badly damaged but 73 per cent have re-opened. Early damage estimates are at US$200 million (600 million kina). International cash contributions totalled some US$45 million by mid-March, and there has been further in-kind assistance such as military transport support from Australia. A state of emergency in the area has been declared, and a new Restoration Authority has been created to guide reconstruction over the next four years.

The physical aftershocks have been significant: quakes measuring up to 6.7 in magnitude have killed more people and have kept them fearful of returning to sleep in their damaged homes or to tend their gardens. The latter is especially important — subsistence agriculture dominates the area, supplemented by coffee or other cash crops and by the promise of royalties from resource projects.

The public’s growing concern is whether the earthquake demonstrates the ancestral spirits’ disapproval of the LNG project. Most areas affected by the earthquake are very remote and have little contact with the modern world. Traditional belief systems remain very strong and ancestors are ever present.

Local landowners were meant to receive most of the 4 per cent of royalties and development levies based on the wellhead value of resource production in these areas. But a pre-condition for these payments was that the actual landowners be identified. This has not happened in the project area, and no payments have been made even though the project has been exporting gas since May 2014. Legal experts have serious doubts whether there can be any agreement on exactly who are the legitimate landowners.

Without such an agreement and with no payments to local landowners, there were already growing concerns about the project’s ‘social licence’ to operate. The Hide gas plant was closed by landowner leaders in late 2016 and special police squads were mobilised to protect the site.

The 2018 earthquake occurred among an already volatile mix of weapons, tribal conflicts, growing disenchantment with the project due to a lack of cash benefits, and traditional belief system concerns about the project. There is now local concern that the LNG project itself was the reason for the earthquake.

Although geological experts are clear that the earthquake resulted from natural movements, social media and local discussions are generally blaming ancestors or the drilling from the LNG project. The extent of this disquiet, although ‘irrational’, has resulted in senior political leaders such as PNG’s Minister for Finance and its Vice-Minister for Petroleum and Energy calling for an inquiry into the reasons for the earthquake to confirm if it was natural. PNG’s opposition leader has also called for all outstanding royalties to be paid before the project re-opens. Following a request from Prime Minister O’Neill, Geoscience Australia has agreed to investigate the causes.

The immediate economic impacts from the earthquake are the estimated US$200 million damages bill, the closure of the LNG project for an estimated eight weeks and the effect on government revenues.

These economic impacts are bearable. The government has promised to spend US$150 million in repairs, but this is likely to be spent over several years and is only a very small proportion of the state budget. Losing eight weeks of production at the LNG project is balanced out by the increase in oil prices in early 2018, so PNG’s overall export values in 2018 are still likely to exceed those in 2016 and 2017. Revenue flows from the project are only 1 per cent of the government’s budget due to very generous depreciation and other tax concessions.

The real economic risks are if the earthquake marks a turning point in local support for the LNG project. This could be psychological, building on the continuing frustrations over the non-payment of royalties and development levies, and the willingness of the local Huli people to take direct action.

The worst case scenario is one that PNG has already experienced. The loss of social licence for the Bougainville copper mine in 1989 started a decade-long civil war that led to thousands of deaths, undermined development prospects on the island for a decade, damaged PNG’s economy more broadly and quite directly led to the removal from office of prime ministers Paias Wingti and Julius Chan.

Following the earthquake, the PNG government and LNG-project partners will have to work even harder to maintain a social licence for the project. The alternative would be catastrophic for Papua New Guinea.

When the Bougainville Copper mine closed in 1989, there were other major resource projects in the pipeline to ‘pick up the slack’. This time around, even with LNG and other major mining projects in the offing, there are no projects as advanced or as large as the early 1990s resource projects of Kutubu Petroleum and the Porgera Gold Mine. History shows economic pressures lead to political pressures, and mishandling the ‘irrational’ elements of this earthquake would put Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s coalition government under great strain.

* Paul Flanagan is Director of PNG Economics and an Associate at the Development Policy Centre, The Australian National University.

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HOW PNG LNG IS SHAKING UP THE EARTHQUAKE

The damming of the Tagari River by a landslide that occurred on 26 February 2018 (photograph by Barbara Lokes).

Michael Main* | EnviroSociety | March 28, 2018

The word for “earthquake” in the Huli language is wonderfully onomatopoeic: dindi dumbirumbi (literally “earth moving and shaking”). During fieldwork conducted in 2016, I interviewed an elderly Huli ritual leader named Dali Ango at his home in Koroba, located in Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Hela Province. Huli ritual leaders, who inherited their position, were holders of a vast amount of traditional historical, genealogical, and cosmological knowledge. Ango talked of ancient land spirits (dama in Huli) named Hu and Hunabe, who, along with dindi dumbirumbi, formed the earth and the mountains. Earthquakes were just one of several indications that the earth was tending toward disaster. Earthquakes, droughts, floods, periods of famine, or even major warfare were held to be signs of impending doom that required the performance of large-scale dindi gamu (“earth spell”) rituals as a remedy (Ballard 1998: 73). In cultural terms, the most significant and influential seismic event that occurred in Huli history was the Plinian eruption of the Long Island volcano in the late seventeenth century (Blong 1982: 131). The resultant ash cloud that blanketed the landscape came to be known throughout Huli territory as mbingi, or “time of darkness.” The volcanic ash resulted in greatly increased fertility of the land and a period of abundant harvest for the years that followed. Mbingi was thought to be preceded by events such as earthquakes (which it quite likely was). Crucially, if people followed the correct procedures and behaviors during the event, then mbingi would result in a time of plenty. If social taboos were ignored and moral laws broken, then mbingi would be prolonged and all the crops would fail, and people would starve to death (Glasse 1995: 69).

Although these forms of knowledge have been largely forgotten, there is substantial evidence to suggest that seismic activity has been a major influence in Huli spiritual belief and practice. Before the recent and devastating magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck Mount Sisa in Hela Province on 26 February this year, the last nearby earthquake in the order of magnitude 7 occurred near Tari, the largest Huli town, on 3 March 1954 (Ripperl and McCue 1983). The effects of this earthquake were recorded by missionaries and Australian government patrol officers who had established a permanent presence in Tari less than three years prior. A missionary with the Unevangelized Fields Mission wrote of the intensity of the earthquake and the disappearance of water from their well and the nearby spring (Twyman 1961). The aftershocks continued for months, and the impression this made on the Huli population was recorded in a patrol report conducted in October of the same year (Esdale 1954). The constant tremors were causing wide cracks in soft ground and Huli were noted to refer to dama spirits as being a cause.

A dominant motif of Huli spiritual belief and practice is the strange behavior of bodies of water. Lakes are said to disappear and move from one place to another. Lakes can rise up, and the movement of ripples is read in terms of good and bad omen. Hidden spirit lakes, with the names bume and deme (pertaining to the heart and the eye), are said to inhabit mountainous areas. After the Tumbi limestone quarry collapsed in 2014, killing more than a dozen people, the collapse was explained to me in terms of the blockage of bume and deme that was caused by ExxonMobil’s contractor, who constructed a road that blocked a stream emerging from the base of the quarry. The limestone karst system that dominates the Huli landscape has been instrumental in shaping these Huli beliefs and much of Huli mythology. Beneath this landscape can be found a complex network of underground rivers, sinkholes, and caves. Earthquakes can easily disrupt this system, causing instant changes to lake levels, and stream behavior. Major earthquakes do not usually occur as single events but are accompanied by a long period of aftershocks, as had been the case since 26 February this year, and recorded after March 1954. In 2016, I visited Tuandaga, a major Huli site of ritual significance, and one of the few still in use. At Tuandaga, as had been the case at ritual sites all across Huli territory, oblations are made of cooked pork for the appeasement of the dama spirit in the lake. The lake is said to rise up to meet the offering. Other rites involve throwing the offering into the water while the behavior of the ripples are observed. A certain type of rippling foretells of bad times for the fate of the land. Very large earthquakes that occur in this steep and brittle landscape can result in major landslides and the blockage of rivers, as is presently the case. At the time of writing, the Tagari River, which is the main river the runs through Huli territory, is dammed by a major landslide that is threatening a mudslide and flooding downstream once the unconsolidated dam is overflowed.

PNG LNG Huli landowners at Komo with Mount Sisa in the background (photograph by the author).

At Komo in 2016, just a few kilometers from the epicenter of the recent earthquake, I was told a Huli mythological tale about a man with no anus. A great feast was held, and the man with no anus just kept eating. His friend noticed that the man was unable to relieve himself and his belly was becoming bigger and bigger. So his friend built a house and inside he dug a hole in which he stuck a sharpened stick vertically into the ground. He covered up the hole with banana leaves and invited his friend inside to sit. When his friend sat on the sharpened stick, it pierced for him an anus, and when he pulled it out all his waste rushed out of him covering the whole place. This story, and versions of it, bears resemblance to the effect of a landslide that blocks a river, which is a not uncommon occurrence in the history of the Papua New Guinean highlands.

In the aftermath of the 26 February earthquake, the question that is dominating the minds of Huli residents is the role that the giant PNG LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) project played in the earthquake’s cause. The PNG LNG project, constructed and operated by ExxonMobil, is the largest resource extraction project in PNG’s history and has been a source of intense anger for the vast majority of Huli landowners, who have yet to see any benefits from the extraction and sale of gas from their land. There is widespread belief that the earthquake was caused by gas extraction activities, which is an opinion that comes on top of an already existing resentment over the development failures of the project. This perception also extends to many of PNG’s politicians who requested that the Australian government provide an independent assessment of the earthquake’s cause. The perception of the earthquake’s cause is driven by a combination of scientific evidence and cosmological belief. The earthquake occurred along the Papuan Fold Belt in a region where earthquakes of magnitude 7 are predicted to occur approximately every 60 years (Ripperl and McCue 1983). The independent assessment provided by Geoscience Australia concluded that the earthquake was naturally occurring, yet this finding was disputed by the governor of Hela Province, who called for an independent review to be conducted according to the terms of the Hela Provincial government (The National 2018). Skepticism over the cause of the earthquake is supported by issues with gas extraction projects in various parts of the world, particularly in relation to newer technologies and the increase in the use of fracking (Kuchment 2016). Recognizing this, the managing director of Oil Search, Peter Botton, responded that this perception should be treated as “a communications issue” (Barrett and Gloystein 2018).

Resentment toward the PNG LNG project, which has intersected with the horror and trauma experienced by the recent earthquake, is not a communications issue. It is a development issue. Huli cosmological belief that the extraction of their gas will bring about the end of the world has been fueled over the past four years by growing resentment over the failure of the project to come good on its development promises. Last month’s devastating earthquake only provides confirmation of a widely held prophetic belief in the disaster that will befall the Huli population should they give away their gas. Gas for the PNG LNG project is extracted from a mountain ridge named Hides Ridge after the early Australian explorer Jack Hides. The Huli name for this mountain is Gigira. Moist air that rises over Gigira tends to form clouds that give the appearance of smoke oozing from the ridge, similar to the smoke from a traditional kunai grass-roofed house with a fire inside. This visual effect provides the basis for the belief that there is a fire burning underneath Mount Gigira. A giant log of hardwood commonly used in fireplaces, a type of tree known in Huli as lai, is said to run the length of the Gigira range. One day, the ancestors said, a man with red legs will come to take the fire. You may give him some of the fire, but do not give away all the fire lest the world will end. When ExxonMobil began to drill for gas on Mount Gigira, local residents packed up and left in the fear that the fire would spill out from the mountain and engulf them. In the absence of development benefits from the PNG LNG project, one thing is clear: the landowners have given away all their fire.

Cloud formation over the Gigira range (photograph by the author).

Earthquakes, which were once understood in the context of a complex set of intersecting beliefs, are now attributed to a single cause that has come to dominate the Huli landscape both physically and cosmologically. The old knowledge and practices have long been abandoned, and a space for new interpretations based on contemporary realities has opened up. The PNG LNG project, with its promise of abundant wealth yet delivery of disaster and neglect, has become the new mbingi. Before the earthquake, there were mounting threats being made against the project, including an armed blockade in August 2016. These threats are a direct result of the development failures of the project, such that it has become in the best interests of the landowners to shut the project down in the hope that a change in development outcomes can be forced. With the PNG LNG project currently in forced shut down because of the damage caused by the earthquake, it is in the landowners’ best interest to blame the earthquake on the project. A PNG LNG project that had kept its promises would have been viewed favorably by a population that might be turning its attention to the challenges of developing the highlands in the context of life in an earthquake zone.

In 1954, the missionaries at Tari watched their newly built houses collapse around them while the local bush material houses would “sway with the earthwaves like a tree in the wind” (Tomassetti 1997: 65). The highlands missionaries were later required to build their houses according to New Zealand Earthquake Standards (Wood and Reeson 1987: 75). The extent of suffering in this most recent major earthquake is partly because of the amount of built infrastructure that has collapsed, none of which existed in 1954. If the PNG LNG project had delivered on its promises of education and training opportunities, infrastructure, business development, and alleviation of poverty, then the concern of its Huli landowners might be over how to utilize their resource to better develop their province to cope with earthquakes into the future. As it is, the PNG LNG project is logically understood in the context of their resource curse. If the proponents of the PNG LNG project had a better understanding of these dynamics, then they might be prompted to do something about it. Communications issue indeed.

*Michael Main is a PhD candidate in the School of Culture, History and Language at the Australian National University. Michael’s research is focused on Huli society and culture in Papua New Guinea’s Hela Province, as well as the rapid changes that have been unfolding since the colonial period of the 1950s, culminating in the construction of ExxonMobil’s giant PNG LNG project.


References

Ballard, Chris. 1998. “The Sun by Night: Huli Moral Topography and Myths in a Time of Darkness.” In Fluid Ontologies: Myth, Ritual and Philosophy in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, ed. Laurence R. Goldman and Chris Ballard, 67–86. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Barrett, Jonathan, and Henning Gloystein. 2018. “Shakes and Superstition: Exxon Faces Backlash in Papua New Guinea.” Reuters, 7 March https://www.reuters.com/article/us-papua-quake-exxon-insight/shakes-and-superstition-exxon-faces-backlash-in-papua-new-guinea-idUSKCN1GJ12S.

Blong, Russell J. 1982. The Time of Darkness: Local Legends and Volcanic Reality in Papua New Guinea. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

Esdale, F. V. 1954. Tari Patrol Report No. 2 of 1954/55. Retrieved from Patrol Reports [microform]. Port Moresby: National Archives of Papua New Guinea:

Glasse, R. 1995. “Time Belong Mbingi: Religious Syncretismand the Pacification of the Huli.” In Papuan Borderlands, Huli, Duna, and Ipili Perspectives on the Papua New Guinea Highlands, ed. Aletta Biersack, 57–86. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Kuchment, Anna. 2016. “Drilling for Earthquakes.” Scientific American, 28 March. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/drilling-for-earthquakes.

Ripperl, I. D., and K. F. McCue. 1983. “The Seismic Zone of the Papuan Fold Belt.” BMR Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics 8: 147–156.

The National. 2018. “Report: Earthquake Natural.” 20 March.

Tomassetti, Berard. 1997. Papua New Guinea Encore. Victoria, KS: St. Fidelis Friary.

Twyman, Eva. 1961. The Battle for the Bigwigs. Melbourne: Unevangelized Fields Mission.

Wood, A. Harold, and MargaretnReeson. 1987. A Bridge Is Built: A Story of the United Church in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Sydney: Commission for Mission Uniting Church in Australia.

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ExxonMobil conservative on PNG LNG restart despite ramping up of activity

Platts | 5 April 2018

Papua New Guinea LNG-operator ExxonMobil is adhering to its initial restart plan for the second half of April, despite activity ramping up at the site, including the delivery of a cooling cargo from Indonesia’s Bontang and the imminent arrival of an unloaded project vessel at the facility.

The LNG carrier Kumul, loaded with a cargo from Bontang , arrived at PNG LNG April 1, with the purpose of maintaining the temperature of the facility’s tanks and loading infrastructure, and avoiding a lengthy re-cooling period once production restarts.

“The purchase of this cargo does not reflect a change in our earlier projection of eight weeks for return to production,” an ExxonMobil spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Elsewhere, a project vessel, the Papua, is heading towards PNG LNG at close to full speed, according to Platts’ trade flow software cFlow, signaling a potential imminent restart.

Trading sources have also noted the possibility of spot offerings from PNG LNG following its restart, adding bearishness to the thinly traded spring market of Northeast Asia.

PNG LNG closed on February 26 due to a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in the PNG Highlands. The facility has a nameplate capacity of 6.9 million mt/year, which it consistently operates above. In December, the plant averaged 8.6 million mt/year and is expected to be able to maintain rates above 8.5 million mt/year when operational.

Approximately three LNG cargoes have been lost per week by the shutdown, but this has been partly offset by lower shoulder season demand in the key markets of North Asia.

Project participant Oil Search announced Tuesday that its Central Processing Facility, which also shut because of the earthquake and is integral to the operation of PNG LNG, has resumed operations.

“The recommencement of operations at the CPF and oil production at Kutubu, just over a month after the main earthquake struck is a testament not only to the robustness of the facility but also the remarkable efforts of our personnel in the field, who continue to address the challenge of restoring camps and production at our other operated facilities,” Oil Search Managing Director Peter Botten said. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us,” he added.

ExxonMobil has a 33.2% stake in PNG LNG, Oil Search holds 29% interest, Santos 13.5%, National Petroleum Company of PNG 16.8%, JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Company 4.7% and Mineral Resources Development 2.8%.

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