Local companies encouraged to step-up for early works contracts on Papua LNG


A commitment by TotalEnergies, operator of the Papua LNG Project, to provide Papua New Guinea’s government with a National Content Plan in September, will ensure PNG businesses receive their fair share of preparatory early works contracts, which will start to be awarded this month.

From left: Luke Liria (KPHL), Richard Kassman (TotalEnergies), Wapu Sonk (KPHL), Jean-Marc Noiray (TotalEnergies), Marie-Alix Dognin (TotalEnergies), Evan Shellshear (UBIDY) during the signing of an agreement between the companies and the job platform WAN PNG, developed by UBIDY, in May 2023. Credit: KPHL

TotalEnergies wants to ensure PNG companies and local individuals, especially basic- and semi-skilled workers, get as much work as possible out of the Papua LNG’s US$10 billion (K35.5 billion) budget as possible.

During a recent business briefing in Port Moresby, Kirsty Laird, Head of National Content with TotalEnergies, noted that the development phase of the project – four years from the expected final investment decision (FID) in early 2024 – when demand for services and labour is at its greatest, will require 8000 workers.

By comparison, adds Laird, the post-production demand (after 2028) will be lean pickings.

Local companies first

Taking what she describes as an ‘onion skin’ approach, Laird says companies nearest the project area of influence in Gulf Province will be approached first, followed by regional businesses, and then national entities registered in PNG.

Where local capability, capacity and experience doesn’t exist, TotalEnergies will, adds Laird, hire from offshore.

‘While the operators will do some of the employment, most labour contracting will be done through engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors and sub-contractors,’ she notes.

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Everything going to plan, TotalEnergies expects to commence upstream supplier forums with the participation of the first selected EPCs, later in 2023.

What I need to do to get hired

Map of the Papua LNG project and its connection with the Elk Antelope Field. Credit: TotalEnergiesTotalEnergies is working with the Institute of Banking and Business Management (IBBM) to develop a local supplier database for the project.

Businesses are being asked to register with IBBM’s Supplier Management Portal, a cloud-based platform designed to connect buyers with potential suppliers.

This database will be made available to the project’s four-tiers of engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contractors.

When registering (at no cost), PNG companies will be asked to enter their business bio, plus other details; including certifications (like IPA certificate), tax registration, ownership details, goods services and contact details.

TotalEnergies is also partnering with the Kumul Petroleum-sponsored jobs portal, WanPNG, available exclusively to PNG workers, who are encouraged to register now to ensure they’re considered for future job opportunities.

Limited window of opportunity

In light of the intensive three- to four-year development phase window, Laird urges local businesses and individuals not to delay their expressions of interest.

The focus on local operators means landowner companies, and SMEs local to the project, will be approached to supply services like transport and catering.

Beyond Papua LNG, Laird suspects there could be a lot of competition in the workforce as other projects like Wafi-Golpu, Porgera gold mine, the P’nyang gas field, Connect PNG and infrastructure programs progress over the next four years.

Upskilling locals

‘TotalEnergies is also planning to assist in developing local capacity through supplier development, basic skills training, internships and scholarships,’ advises Laird.

In addition to offering up to 200 scholarships annually for Papua New Guineans over the next few years, its workforce development team also plans to engage with machinery and construction trainers for early works requirements.

The Papua LNG project entered its FEED stage in March. The French multinational has already called for tenders for FEED phase 2 contracts for the upstream central processing facilities in Gulf Province and discussions are advancing with an Asian consortium comprising Saipem, Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Tripatra Engineers.


  1. Philip says

    As a local company, how can we qualify for transport and catering work/business given the financial capacity.

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