Gulf Province: Papua New Guinea Business Guide


Gulf Province is located on Papua New Guinea’s southern coast. It has a concave coastline of large deltas that lead into the Lakekamu Basin, and has mountains and wide expanses of seasonally flooded grass plains stretching out from the Turama, Kikori, Purari and Vailala rivers. The province has about 500 kilometres of roads, mainly along the eastern coast and mountains.

An aerial view of a village on the Gulf Province coast. Credit: Rocky Roe

Economic overview

The province has some major oil and gas projects, including the fields: Elk Antelope, Uramu, Gobe, Barikewa, Lehi and Bwata. The biggest prospect is the Total-led Papua LNG project, based on the Elk/Antelope gas fields, which is the set to become the country’s second major liquefied natural gas (LNG) project.

In September 2019, the PNG government approved the gas agreement of the project, paving the way for front end engineering and design (FEED) to commence. FEED has been delayed until 2022, with a Final Investment Decision now expected in 2023. Should it go ahead, first production is likely to start in 2027.

The pipeline corridor will stretch around the Gulf Province coastline, calling for complex ecological studies, involving diverse marine, terrestrial and forestry environments. More than 30,000 people – 41 communities speaking eight languages – will be directly affected by the project.

The Gulf Provincial government has set up an equal partnership to build a port to service the LNG project and other industries. There are also plans to create the Ihu Special Economic Zone near Kikori. This project has received seed funding from the PNG government and Chinese interests.

The World Bank has also recently completed a feasibility study into creating a transport corridor which would connect PNG’s Highlands to Port Moresby via Gulf Province, with a view to reducing transportation costs for agriculture.

There are also mining interests. Mayur Resources’ Orokolo Bay Industrial Sands Project is the most advanced, aiming to produce fine grain construction sands, titanomagnetite and a zircon-rich heavy mineral concentrate, with potential for other heavy minerals. Waterford Ltd also has an exploration licence looking for coal.

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The province also has a marine products industry, including prawn fishing companies owned by the Provincial Government that specialise in the harvesting and processing of natural prawns from the waters of the Gulf of Papua.

The province has a history of hunting and fishing, and the locals mainly derive a living from fishing and growing copra. There is also a long standing trade in ceramics and artefacts. Gulf is famous for its masks, dancing boards, drums, and figures representing spirits. Kikori Airport has been recently upgraded.


The province has many tributaries, swamps and rivers, and it is rich with flora and fauna. There is world-class fishing along the coast of Gulf, which attracts international visitors. Visitors can catch the famed Papuan black bass. In November the Provincial School of Arts and Crafts holds its festival.

Where to stay

Because few tourists visit the Gulf province, tourism facilities are scarce.

  • The main accommodation in Kerema is GMI Hotel (+675 648 1397).
  • Mission stations offer lodging.

Gulf Province in brief

Province name: Gulf

Capital: Kerema

Population: 237,017

Geographical area: 34,472 square kilometres

Distance from Port Moresby: 229 kilometres.

Getting there: Air Niugini does not fly into the province. The closest Air Niugini-serviced airport is Jacksons International in Port Moresby.

Sectors: Oil and gas, minerals, marine products, ceramics and artefacts.

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