ExxonMobil shuts Hides gas plant after Papua New Guinea quake

ExxonMobil Corp., operator of the PNG-LNG project, has shut its Hides gas-conditioning plant in the wake of a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake that shook the Papua New Guinea highlands region in the early hours of Feb. 26.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2018 02 180227 Png Quake Map Final

ExxonMobil Corp., operator of the PNG-LNG project, has shut its Hides gas-conditioning plant in the wake of a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake that shook the Papua New Guinea highlands region in the early hours of Feb. 26.

The initial quake was followed by more than a dozen aftershocks, each with a magnitude of 5.0 or more, the latest on Feb. 27.

The epicentre was about 100 km southwest of Mendi, the capital of the Southern Highlands.

ExxonMobil said it believed that Hides plant administration buildings, living quarters, and a mess hall had been damaged, prompting the company to put plans in place to evacuate nonessential staff. The company added that it had suspended flights into the nearby Komo airfield until the runway could be surveyed.

There has been no word about whether there is any damage to gas and oil pipelines in the region.

Content Dam Ogj Online Articles 2018 02 180227 Png Quake Map Final

Joint venture partner Oil Search Ltd. released a statement on Feb. 27 saying that all its staff and contractors, located at the company’s more than 20 operating sites, have been accounted for and there have been no reports of any serious injuries.

However, due to the damage to several camp sites, Oil Search has begun demobilising all nonessential personnel to Port Moresby. The company added that a review of its wells, gathering systems, production facilities, and other systems in the Kutubu region is under way to determine the extent of damage and assess what remedial work may be necessary. The work will take at least a week and will help determine when it will be able to resume safe operations.

Oil Search also is working with the Oil Search Health Foundation and relevant government authorities to determine the extent of the impact of the earthquake on the wider communities in the region and how it may be able to help.

Early reports say the death toll in Mendi and Kutubu areas has risen to 30.

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