THE study of the earth’s physical formation, its composition and the various components that continuously sees the earth evolving is still new science for Papua New Guinea.

Added to that, the natural landscape of PNG presents it as one of the most exciting geological terrains in the world which the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) through its Geoscience department is scratching the surface of.

UPNG offers the Geology and Environmental Science curriculum, which was introduced two decades ago when the country was focused on expanding the extractive industry, looking at its gold mines, oil fields and more recently liquefied natural gas.

Furthering the support of the program, ExxonMobil PNG (EMPNG), operator of the PNG LNG Project, offers an annual three-day workshop to UPNG students. This is the second time EMPNG hosted the workshop at its headquarters in Port Moresby.

Two UPNG lecturers and 25 students from the Geology program joined the ExxonMobil Exploration team in September for this year’s workshop. The instructors were Hugh Kerr, Joshua Taylor, Matt Durant and Simone de Morton from ExxonMobil’s Exploration office in Melbourne.

“The workshop provided interactive sessions aimed at describing the processes which ExxonMobil uses to define and quantify the potential for hydrocarbons in which decisions are based on,” said Hugh Kerr.

EMPNG’s Exploration Manager Sarah Trend said EMPNG is delighted to assist the UPNG Geology students to expand their knowledge on oil and gas as this is part and parcel of growing the skills of Papua New Guinean future workforce.

“The three-day workshop here at EMPNG has introduced the students to real-world challenges faced by geologists and geophysicists at energy companies.  It’s always a pleasure to meet these hard-working, enthusiastic students, and we hope this will help them succeed in their geoscience careers.”

Students leveraged the workshop and were exposed to advanced tools and techniques to evaluate and calculate results of drilling– giving the students the opportunity to complete their own analysis.

On the final day, the students were provided a modern seismic line from the Gulf of Papua which they used to apply the techniques they had learnt to describe the geology and identify the best locations to explore for hydrocarbons.

“Normally at school we do contour maps but we didn’t really know how to apply it in real life and in the industrial areas. The workshop really helped me appreciate and understand the process involved from basic exploration to the production stage,” said Dauba Dauba, a final year geology student from the Central Province.