Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has today (21.06.23) commended multinational oil and gas corporation, ExxonMobil, for continuing its exploration in Papua New Guinea over the last two years, which has revealed “some good finds”.

The Prime Minister said the company has spent up to $300 million on exploration in the last two years.

“From my discussions with ExxonMobil leadership in Houston, Texas and my follow-up engagements, I am glad to see the company take up exploration again.

“I commend them for investing between $200 million and $300 million on exploration in the last two years. They have been exploring in the south-eastern Papuan Fault Belt area, and have indicated some good finds, which we will make sure are protected.”

PM Marape said the government has been working on an incentive regime for ExxonMobil and those in the exploration space, and would be announcing this soon.

“This is so that we not only earn ‘construction dollar’ for the development of the fields, but we also have ‘exploration dollars’ coming into our country.

“Our government will soon be announcing these incentives.

“I want to commend ExxonMobil for the fact that, even before the commencement of these incentives and just going by my word with its Houston headquarters, the company has brought over $200 million into our country through exploration alone. This was over the last two years when our economy needed it the most during the aftermath of COVID-19.

“PNG might be the only one or two countries in the world where ExxonMobil has engaged in exploration. I commend ExxonMobil leaders in Houston, Texas; Asia Pacific; and Papua New Guinea for continuing to invest in our country.”

The Prime Minister also called upon companies within the oil & gas, and mining sectors to take up exploration in PNG.

“Many of the resources we have today both in the oil & gas, and mining spaces are resources established in prior years of exploration.

“I encourage Total and partners who are in country to move into this space beyond just the development phase of Papua LNG.

“Likewise, we call on other companies who want to come into the exploration of mining and petroleum: if you have an interest, place a call to the two departments concerned for license or permit. We will help you.”

The Prime Minister has also called on companies holding onto exploration licenses to look into developing their fields quickly before they lose them to expiration.

“If they do not have the capacity to engage in explorations, it is in their interest to talk to the Petroleum and Mining departments for assistance.

“Our country has abundant potential for oil & gas, and mining, and so I want to assure our people that we are still an attractive place for investments, as indicated by ExxonMobil and Total,” said PM Marape.