Oil Search resumes operations in Papua New Guinea

JUST over a month of shutdown following the destructive 7.5magnitude earthquake of February 26, and Oil Search Limited (OSL) is back in production at its Central Processing Facility (CPF) at Kutubu in Papua New Guinea .

In an ASX announcement yesterday, OSL reported that operations and oil production has resumed at a number of Kutubu oil field wells at an initial rate of approximately 4000 barrels of oil per day.

The resumption of production comes three weeks earlier than the initial projected shutdown period of eight weeks by both OSL and LNG producer ExxonMobil.

The news will be received with much relief by all stakeholders, including the National Government and importers of Papua New Guinea’s oil and gas.

The CTP was shutdown following structural damages caused to their project sites and facilities in the host provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands last month.

For OSL, the resumption followed a detailed assessment of all its’ operated infrastructure, processing equipment, storage tanks and flow-lines at the CPF, and minor remedial work to ensure the facility’s integrity.

Now that the CPF is operational, oil production from the Kutubu complex fields is expected to be brought back online progressively during April, OSL stated.

The Oil Search operated condensate handling facilities at the CPF and liquids export pipeline, which are integral to the operation of the PNG LNG project, are also ready to receive, store and export condensate once the project recommences gas production.

Meantime, rehabilitation work to restore the Oil Search-operated ridge camp to support the return of production personnel to the Central Processing and Agogo facilities remains ongoing, reports OSL managing director Peter Botten.

He said the revised 2018 guidance for production as well as operating and capital costs will be provided when Oil Search reports its 2018 first quarter results on 17 April.

“The resumption of safe, reliable and sustainable operations in PNG remains a key priority for Oil Search.

“The recommencement of operations at the CPF and oil production at Kutubu, just over a month after the main earthquake struck is a testament not only to the robustness of the facility but also the remarkable efforts of our personnel in the field, who continue to address the challenge of restoring camps and production at our other operated facilities.

“There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but I would like to thank them once again for their resilience, professionalism and commitment over the last month.

“Sadly, local communities in the Hela, Southern Highlands and Western Provinces were devastated by the earthquake, with many deaths, as well as the destruction of homes, livelihoods, important infrastructure and loss of basic necessities.

“As one of the few organisations in Papua New Guinea with the ability to provide rapid on-the-ground assistance, Oil Search continues to play a critical role in the relief efforts.

“To date, Oil Search has delivered more than 200 tonnes of food and supplies, reaching over 200,000 people mostly within remote villages, delivered almost 100 health centre kits and has undertaken more than 1400 medical treatment cases, including over 55 medical evacuations.

“We continue to work with government agencies, community leaders and donor groups to support the disaster relief efforts,” Mr Botten said.


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