Petroleum companies working with Government to find solution to fuel crisis

THE Government is now in serious discussions with Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) and three multi-national petroleum companies to find solutions for the fuel shortage in the country, with a major announcement expected soon, Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has said.

The Prime Minister said the Government has been holding talks with ExxonMobil, Total Energies and Santos, together with Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) and State-owned company KPHL, to look into the immediate import of fuel and a long-term solution in the construction of a locally-based refinery for downstream processing to secure the domestic market.

Prime Minister Marape said Papua New Guinea, under his Government, was heading in the direction of downstream processing of its resources but Puma Energy’s actions of recent months have forced the Government to act now rather than later in this area.

“Our fuel insecurity due to reliance on one or two suppliers is forcing the Government to urgently call on its State-owned Enterprises and major oil companies operating in the country to finding solutions,” said PM Marape.

“The Government is now collaborating with Kumul Petroleum, MRDC, ExxonMobil, Total Energies and Santos to explore solutions that can ensure the country’s fuel security, including aviation fuel and general fuel.

“We are leaving no stone unturned. What has happened under Puma must not be repeated. For far too long, this country has been victimised when, in fact, Papua New Guinea continues to export petroleum and gas to the world year after year. The irony is staggering.

“I am, therefore, pleased to note the progress the Government is making with our national development partners – ExxonMobil, Total Energies and Santos.

“I am also looking forward to the moment when we can make the announcement on the immediate solutions we have worked out to resolve this relatively long-standing issue.”

Papua New Guinea was plunged into an acute shortage of fuel at the end of last year 2022 when Puma Energy PNG Ltd announced it could no longer source crude oil and finished products because of unresolved foreign currency issues. This affected its supply of fuel to PNG, especially to the aviation industry where Air Niugini was forced to ground its flights and left the travelling public stranded for days as a result. The matter raised huge concerns on supply monopoly and the country’s fuel security both for short and long term.

Caption: An empty service station at 8-Mile in Port Moresby today after the fuel bowsers ran dry, source from pmjamesmarape website.