By Incoming Wildcat Chief Executive Adam Dwyer
THE NAMES Carson Pratt Services and Greg Bill are well known to experienced oil and gas industry workers in Papua New Guinea.
Mr Bill, a larger than life character who made Mendi in the Southern Highlands home for more than 30 years and the company were largely seen as inseparable.
Mr Bill started out in the aviation industry with Kennecott Pacific, based in Kiunga, as a field assistant and helicopter controller. With the increased activity and initial discoveries in the Kutubu oilfields, he quickly moved onto the now current base in Mendi which was chosen as the operational base for both Carson Pratt Services, and its subsidiary company South West Air, due to the region’s proximity to Kutubu.
Mr Bill has led a team of highly experienced staff comprising 300 nationals and 30 expatriates, working in the field of remote exploration rig site construction and heli-portable rig work.
But with the departure of Carson Pratt founding partner Fred Pratt, the company underwent a re-brand to Wildcat Developments.
Over time, the business has evolved by necessity to become a fully supportive vertically integrated organisation, with catering services through to a fully compliant aircraft maintenance facility at the Mendi Hangar.
The facility services a fleet of two Bell helicopters and two fixed wing aircrafts, one of which is the Twin Otter registration number SWE, known to most in the industry as the lightest, most capable utility aircraft currently operating in PNG.
With the civil machinery fleet now numbering in excess of 100 individual units, Wildcat has the ability to take on numerous projects simultaneously and with the support of South West Air, get to the work site, operate safely and supply logistical solutions to meet the client’s needs without delay.
With the aircraft fleet on hand Wildcat is able to tackle ever present site based challenges that are inherent in operating in remote PNG.
Over the years Wildcat has developed in excess of 115 exploration sites for companies such as Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Horizon Oil, Talisman Energy and Heritage Oil.
Following Mr Bill’s departure as Wildcat managing director in January, long-time construction manager Tom Derby has taken the role of general manager of the Wildcat business, running day-to-day operations with his experienced team of engineers, site supervisors, operators and maintenance crew.
On the South West Sir side of the business, Chris Tewson, a veteran in the aviation field, has been appointed general manager and will be based at the Jacksons Airfield Hanger facility in Port Moresby.
Mr Tewson has already embarked on a building phase with the South West air operation and is currently undertaking a refit of the Port Moresby hangar to provide an air-conditioned VIP lounge facility equipped with free WiFi, TV and refreshments for clients involved in travel on charter services.
The business today is well placed with the new management structure to further leverage the synergies of our geographic location in Mendi and the support of South West Air alongside the Wildcat business leading to further roading and civil contracts within the highlands block.
With the distinct proximity advantage to the Southern and Western Province’s oil and gas deposits, we will continue to drive the business towards assisting the development of PNG through exploration and eventually production of its natural resources.