PM Marape Cites Opportunities in Papua LNG and Wildebeest LNG Projects

By: Roselyn Erehe May 13, 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, MP, in Kerema Town, Gulf Province, for the official launching of the Kerema District SME and Women’s Micro Bank. PM Hon. James Marape was greeted by the Kerema MP, Hon. Thomas Opa and his official delegation. -image provided by T.T.M

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape recently praised the economic opportunities the Papua LNG Project and the Wildebeest LNG Project are set to bring, as both natural gas projects underline the potential for business growth and development in the region.

PM Marape called on the residents of Gulf Province to prepare to supply goods and services to the forthcoming projects, emphasizing the substantial business implications and potential opportunities for investors.

He said the focus will be on local agriculture and fisheries for food supplies, forestry for timber, and tourism to accommodate the surge of workers and visitors expected, as these presented lucrative prospects for entrepreneurial ventures and investment.

During the inauguration of the Kerema District SME and Women’s Micro Bank branch on 7th May, Prime Minister Marape announced a funding of K3 million to initiate the SME project and an additional K10 million granted to the Kerema District Development Authority (DDA) to enhance the Kerema Airport, signaling government support for private sector engagement and investment.

The Prime Minister underscored the critical role of local businesses in driving economic prosperity and job creation.

Also present were Bank of PNG Governor Ms. Elizabeth Genia and her staff, Gulf Deputy Governor Hon. Morris Taudevin, Vice-Minister for Works and Highways Hon. Miki Kaeok, and other provincial and community leaders.

Prime Minister Marape disclosed the Cabinet’s decision to appoint Augustine Mano, the Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Development Company, as the Chairman of the Gulf Provincial Health Authority (PHA).

“Papua LNG will materialize in the next two to three years,” stated PM Marape, highlighting the timeline for investment realization and urging investors to position themselves strategically to capitalize on early-stage opportunities.

He outlined the construction phases from 2026 through 2028, expressing eagerness for ExxonMobil to expand exploration at Wildebeest, which is located just north of Kerema and is potentially the largest LNG resource in the nation.

The Prime Minister called upon Gulf Governor Hon. Chris Haiveta, Kerema MP Hon. Thomas Opa, and Kikori MP Hon. Soroi Eoe to begin provincial developments in anticipation of these transformative projects.

“I envisage food from our Gulf being directly supplied to these projects,” he said.

He also noted ongoing discussions with Governor Haiveta on developing ports in strategic locations like Kerema, Ihu, Paia, and Kikori to bolster logistics, presenting potential investment opportunities in port infrastructure and associated services.

Prime Minister Marape also remarked on recent Cabinet approvals, including a contract over K150 million to pave the section from Laloki River to Brown River along the Hiritano Highway, an important   connection for the region.

“The Hiritano Highway is more than a roadway; it is an economic lifeline linking Central, Gulf, and Morobe to the heart of the country and pivotal LNG projects,” he said.

Prime Minister Marape reassured the people of Kerema and the broader Gulf community of their integral role in this national development, stating, “You are not forgotten,” and highlighting the government's commitment to inclusive growth and equitable distribution of opportunities across all regions.

The Prime Minister emphasized their support for both mothers and men to venture into MSMEs, thereby contributing to the growth of the local economy and fostering entrepreneurship and business innovation.

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