Fabrication of Papua New Guinea’s new gas projects could be done in-country


A new fabrication facility being planned to support the next wave of gas projects in Papua New Guinea could create as many as 15,000 jobs and enable Papua New Guinea to compete for regional work, according to Wapu Sonk, Managing Director of Kumul Petroleum.

Kumul Training Academy. Credit: Kumul Petroleum via Facebook

A fabrication facility to support Papua New Guinea’s gas industry could be operational ahead of the commencement the Papua LNG project, according to Kumul Petroleum’s Managing Director Wapu Sonk.

He told the 2021 Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference he would like to have the fabrication facility operating before the Total-led Papua LNG project starts its construction phase, scheduled to commence from 2023 and end in 2027.

Wapu Sonk SOE

Kumul’s Wapu Sonk.

He said Kumul Petroleum was in talks with ExxonMobil and Total about the implementation of the facility close to the LNG Plant in Caution Bay outside Port Moresby. This would be used to assemble the new plant and facilities required to expand the LNG Plant and integrate it with the new Papua LNG project.

Sonk anticipates the initiative could create between 10,000 and 15,000 skilled jobs. The facility would build on the work of Kumul Petroleum’s training organisation, the Kumul Petroleum Academy.

By training locals in the fabricating skills, Sonk says, the gas or mining facilities can put together the finished product at the construction site. This strategy would help bring ‘that job of putting the big components’ to PNG instead of continuing to outsource it to countries such as Singapore, Korea, China or Indonesia.

‘All the different pieces [for the gas projects] will be put together here. Those skills can also be exported to Australia and different parts of our region. This will be the second [fabrication] facility in our region. There is one in Perth but nothing on the east coast of Australia. It will [allow us to] create jobs and export them.’

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Sonk believes the location is ideal, and that the benefits could extend beyond PNG’s oil and gas sector.

‘We have the electricity next door that is cheaper and we do have a lot of young people who need skilling. We are trying to do these [initiatives] ahead of the construction starting. It is not just oil and gas training: it will be for broad construction activities in the country. It is not our core business but we see the need for it,’ he says.

Providing continuity in construction jobs is also a factor in the thinking about the proposed P’nyang gas project in Western Province, currently under negotiation.

‘That project is targeted to start construction at the end of the Papua LNG construction – so there is continuous construction activity in the country happening. It is designed to come at the back of Papua LNG.’

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  1. Rachael Onea says

    Upgrade the existing Technical Vocational Educational Training in the country

  2. James Kinu Komengi says

    I love this foresight and leadership by the industry and Mr. Wapu Sonk. We are heading the right direction with creating job opportunities.

  3. Vailea Ora says

    Perfect. This plan should had began 45 years ago. We may start with the fabrication facility and then venture into manufacturing industry and then biochemistry research and sort forth, keep the momentum going.

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