EXXONMOBIL is commimtted to ensuring the construction staff at its US$19 billion Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas development have bright employment prospects once gas flows start, project executive Decie Autin has told a PNG audience.
Speaking at the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Conference in December 2013, Ms Autin said that while the construction phase may be drawing to a close, revenues from the PNG LNG project would provide a strong financial basis for developments for many years to come.
The company was committed to providing training for its PNG workforce which will go beyond the project, she said.
“We have put a huge effort into preparing people for the next phase of their lives and careers,” Ms Autin said.
“We are working with the government to find ways to remobilise people – people who are now experienced workers – into government-funded infrastructure projects.
“And we’ve received requests from other companies who want to hire our workers because they know the level of training they have received.”
The PNG LNG project, a joint venture between ExxonMobil, Oil Search, Santos, JX Nippon, Petromin and the government, has delivered almost two million hours of training to date through some 10,600 training courses and activities.
“The training…also includes training that helps our workers prepare for opportunities outside of the project, such as computer training and résumé writing skills,” Ms Autin said.
Of the PNG LNG project’s current 18,500-strong workforce, more than 7,100 are Papua New Guinean.
“There is no doubt that for many Papua New Guinean workers, the PNG LNG project is positively changing and enhancing their lives,” Ms Autin said.
In addition to helping the workforce prepare to transition to life beyond PNG LNG, the project is making a concerted effort to train the production workforce to assist in operating the facilities from start-up.
“We have 150 young Papua New Guineans – the best and brightest – who are part of this program,” Ms Autin said.
“Our first class of trainees were heavily involved in the commissioning activities along the pipeline and at the LNG Plant, and they are showing enormous talent and dedication.”
While locals have benefited from the construction of the natural gas export project, Ms Autin talked up the positive flow-on effects local businesses have received, with the development resulting in just under K10 billion invested in local firms, of which K2.26 billion was spent with landowner companies.
Re-directing her talk to the significance of PNG LNG, Mr Autin said the project was representative of what the country could achieve.
“The PNG LNG project demonstrates to the world – particularly the investment world – exactly what Papua New Guinea is capable of,” she said.
“Our joint success can herald a new era of development for this diverse and strategically located nation.
“Achieving this full potential requires government and community support to show the world that PNG is a stable and secure environment in which to do business.
With a stable fiscal and regulatory environment, Ms Autin said maintaining the stability and terms that are conducive to future investment were critical.
“Papua New Guinea has created momentum and we encourage the government to continue the fiscal and regulatory environment which encourages further investment in this growing economy,” she said.
As the production date draws closer, ExxonMobil’s top priority was ensuring that the billion of Kina which would spring from the project were distributed wisely and equally.
“Right now, we are providing logistical assistance to the government to support completion of the clan vetting Process,” Ms Autin said.
“As I’ve mentioned, mechanisms such as the extractive industries transparency initiative and sovereign wealth fund will play a part in ensuring funds are used properly.”
First delivery of LNG from the project remains on schedule for the second half of 2014.