Entrepreneurs: Larry Andagali, Trans Wonderland


An entrepreneur who has gone from a career in teaching to being appointed to the board of the National Petroleum Company, potentially one of the the most important companies ever established Papua New Guinea. We trace the remarkable journey of  Larry Andagali, Managing Director of landowner company Trans Wonderland Limited.

Larry Andagali_hr

Trans Wonderland’s Larry Andagali

A teacher by training, Larry Andagali’s involvement in business started when he acted as a liaison between the landowner community and BP during its development of the country’s first petroleum development licence at Hides in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands Province. (In 1998, BP sold its PNG assets to Oil Search Ltd and Hides is now part of the ExxonMobil PNG LNG project.)

That role led to Larry coordinating the landowners’ provision of labour hire, security and food supply to the project and, as more petroleum licences came through, the involvement of more landowner clans.

Ultimately, this led to his involvement in the creation of Trans Wonderland Ltd (TWL), a transportation company owned by landowners from the areas surrounding the Kutubu, Jura, Angora and Moran oil/gas fields.

TWL’s ownership structure is noteworthy. It is owned by a consortium of 25 landowner companies (‘lancos’), half from Southern Highlands and half from Hela Province. Created to benefit from resource projects in the Highlands, these lancos provide support to the resources sector in civil construction, labour hire, security, catering and maintenance. Andagali estimates they distribute monies to a total of 60,000 beneficiaries.

In the past three years, TWL (named after explorer Jack Hides’ 1930s book, Papuan Wonderland), has gone from a moderate turnover of 15 million kina (US$7.1 million) to an impressive 100 million kina (US$47.9 million). It now has over 100 trucks in operation and 380 staff.

Keys to success

Infrastructure, training and transparency are all key to TWL’s ongoing success, according to Andagali.

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The company has spent six million kina (US$2.8 million) on workshops, training and development. Trainers from Australia and New Zealand have worked with local drivers to improve skills, often taking long journeys with them along the Highlands Highway in company trucks.

‘This is a 24 hour operation; we monitor everything,’ says Andagali. The company recently installed satellite tracking in all trucks so cargo and vehicles can be pinpointed at any time.

A Post-LNG world

The construction phase of the US$19 billion Exxon-Mobil LNG project will finish in 2014 and a lot of work may dry up for companies providing services to the project.

TWL is already looking ahead; there are plans to establish a presence in Port Moresby and to turn TWL into ‘a one-stop shop for transportation and logistics operation in the country.’

Social projects are also within TWL’s ambit. In January 2011, TWL helped a collective of 200 women, the Hela Women’s Upstream Limited, buy and operate a Western Star semi-trailer, part of a consortium of ten such trucks.

‘I think the future is bright,’ Andagali tells Business Advantage PNG. ‘There will be a lot of revenue coming in with the LNG project and all these other mines. That money needs to be reinvested; it needs to be recirculated in the country.’


  1. Terence Mandalo says

    Wonderful investment for the benefit of People of Hela, SHP and PNG as a whole. I commend the leadership of Mr. Larry Andagali.

    Terence Mandalo

  2. Isaac Haboro Baiabe says

    Great archievemt with Larry Andagali’s great Leadership. A true hearted person to serve his very own people of remote areas.

    Can now see TWL is is one of the fast growing Landowner company in the nation.

    Onbehalf of Kutubu and Moran area youths and surrounding villages community, I would like say thank you for the journey of building great investment for the people’s lives in remote villages. We are very much thankful and here express our gratitude appreciation for your commitment and actions of True Leadership quality.

    With that, May God bless Andagali’s great Leadership.

    Thank you.

    Isaac Haboro Baiabe
    Kutubu Moran Youth Development Foundation

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