After 84 years of operation in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Oil Search is nearing first production on its world-scale PNG Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Project. The organisation is a major fixture in PNG as one of the countrys largest companies and one of its biggest investors and taxpayers. Oil Search has approximately 1,100 full-time staff and more than 1,200 contractors located in PNG, Australia, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates, with exploration activities in PNG, Yemen, Iraqi Kurdistan and Tunisia.
Oil Search is entering a formative period, with the companys operations increasing in complexity and an anticipated return of capital for shareholders, once full production begins on its PNG LNG Project. Managing Director of Oil Search Peter Botten looks at the perks and perils of working in the region, the impressive growth the company has seen, and the developmental years that lie ahead of the business.
"I went to university at the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College, London, and graduated in geology. I then went to work for the French government for seven years in different parts of the world including Africa, Canada, the US, and France. I was eventually sent to Australia for work. Having spent a number of years with the French government, I decided to leave, but stay in Australia and work for a small company called Pontoon Oil and Minerals, which became Petroz. The business was intimately involved in exploration in the Timor Sea, primarily in the joint development zone between Australia and Indonesia, and had production in Western Australia and in Queensland. After some time with Petroz, they were taken over, and I became a consultant. One of my first jobs was with Oil Search".