Outgoing PNG LNG managing director Peter Graham, CBE, re-lived the magnificent success of the country’s first LNG project in his presentation at the 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference. Image courtesy Kevin Murrant/On The Go Photo

Outgoing PNG LNG managing director Peter Graham, CBE, re-lived the magnificent success of the country’s first LNG project in his presentation at the 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference. Image courtesy Kevin Murrant/On The Go Photo

THE OIL PRICE plunge and sustained weak commodity prices were not enough to take the sheen off the 13th PNG Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference, held in Sydney from 1-3 December.

PNG LNG took centre stage on the opening day as outgoing ExxonMobil PNG managing director Peter Graham reflected on the triumph of the country’s first large-scale LNG project.

Nautilus’ presentation on its ground-breaking undersea mining operation drew great curiosity, and some scepticism, from industry figures, but its radical plans proved a highlight on the conference schedule.

Total and Talisman representatives also talked up the potential for further big gas developments, as over 1,400 delegates flooded into the Sydney Hilton to talk up the raft of opportunities in the world’s newest resources hotspot.

Deloitte partner Chris Richardson was quick to remind conference attendees that despite slumping commodity and oil prices “PNG has what the world wants”.

“Although what the world wants will change in the coming decade and the decade after, PNG remains well suited to that,” he said.

Mr Richardson said people should be aware that this decade will be one of much greater supply growth and it was up to players to respond to those conditions.

“As great as the last decade has been it is always going to be the case that there are challenges to be faced,” he said.

He said the story for the foreseeable future would be one of being careful with costs.

“For a while it was easy – those days are passing, this becomes a more traditional phase for the resources sector as it balances up,” he said.

PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum president Greg Anderson said he was impressed with attendance figures.

“We’ve got a fantastic turnout,” he said.

“We’ve got the same numbers as we had in 2012, which is about the time the downturn first started, so we’re absolutely delighted.

“The service companies are all here, as well as the government, community and landowner leaders,” he said.

“There’s a common interest here – everybody is trying to keep the business going. You have to face the bad with the good.”