By Linda Van Leeuwen, Capacity Building Specialist, Anitua

CATERING and camp management company The Alliance Group (TAG) is winding down its operations as the construction phase of the PNG LNG project draws to a close.

But like a sleeping giant, it is well-positioned to ramp up again when called upon to service other LNG operational needs as they arise.

TAG started life as a joint venture in 2009 between PNG catering and camp management company NCS and the Gulf Catering Company (GCC).

In 2012, all shares in the joint venture were acquired by NCS, making TAG 100 per cent owned by NCS, which is in turn 100% owned by PNG company, the Anitua Group.

TAG’s successful tender for most of the LNG project surprised many in the industry as larger and more prominent companies were also in contention. However the joint venture partners complemented each other perfectly with GCC bringing its international might and expertise to the table and NCS bringing its invaluable PNG catering and camp management.

TAG has grown from a company with only three staff, who were specifically tasked with winning the initial series of PNG LNG bids, to a company employing 1,700 in the space of 18 months.

These included staff from two joint ventures between TAG and Laba Holdings (the Laba Alliance Group – LAG) and the Hides Gas Development Company (the Hides Alliance Group – HAG).

Together, TAG, LAG and HAG took care of thousands of LNG camp residents with catering, housekeeping, laundry and maintenance services to make camp life convenient, comfortable and safe.

TAG group general manager Bob Nowak attributes a lot of the commendations the company received for its camp management and catering services to its investment in competency based training programs.

“Just like NCS, training together with safety, get top priority … it’s also key to the development of the workforce and is central to the success of workforce localisation and nationalisation,” he said.

Esso Highlands and Chyoda-JGC joint venture (CJJV) plant site managers were so impressed with LAG’s performance, they sponsored an ‘Appreciation Day’ to honour them. The day saw the whole LAG team treated to a special lunch served by the EHL, CJJV and LAG managers themselves.

While TAG managed to exceed the expectations of business partners such as EHL and CJJV, it simultaneously and dramatically up-skilled its workforce, systems and capabilities.

Moreover, the success with which TAG met its contractual obligations with the LNG project has further improved parent company NCS’s chances of heading offshore to take advantage of opportunities presenting themselves in other parts of the Pacific and South East Asia.