The Ganef power plant site was cleared in February and is ready to commence construction.
PNG Biomass is Oil Search’s renewable energy and sustainable tree farming business. The project is still subject to a final investment decision by Oil Search, now planned to take place in the second half of the year.
The formal ‘go-ahead’ has been delayed several times due to a time-consuming process with the PNG government to deliver on their commitments to progress the project. Once the PNG government resolves the final outstanding matters, Oil Search can move the project swiftly into construction to bring 30 megawatt of renewable, affordable and clean energy to the Ramu grid and Lae businesses.
Michael Henson, Project Director of PNG Biomass, notes that it is important not to forget the project also brings significant sustainable development to the region. “We designed PNG Biomass with a two-fold purpose; we will power the Ramu Grid with low-emission renewable energy, and to do that we use an inclusive economic growth model to empower communities to maximise benefits for them,” said Henson.
“The value we create with PNG Biomass is shared between landowners, communities, women, youth, future generations, local and regional businesses, provincial and national government, and Oil Search. This is a great example of creating shared value. This project is equally a sustainable investment for Oil Search in the energy transition and an investment in the people and prosperity of PNG.”
According to Henson it is now time to realise the benefits of the renewable energy and sustainable development project. “Over the last year we have expanded our tree farm to 3,000 hectares. We signed the long-term lease with the landowners of the power plant land and just finished clearing the power plant site, we are ready to commence construction. In the next few months boreholes will be drilled to supply water to the power plant. We just need the Government to deliver on its commitments to move this project forward,” stated Henson.
“Landowners of the Ganef community were glad to see us clear the site, but they are getting restless. They have committed their land to build the power plant, but construction has not commenced yet. We reach out to them daily to provide information and explain the delays, but it is difficult to explain the bureaucracy and politics in PNG. Fortunately, we have a great working relationship with our communities. The Ganef landowners are thankful for the borehole we drilled in their community. We also installed a solar pump and water tank so they now have a fresh water supply,” added Henson.