The ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG export project remains closed following a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck on Monday in Papua New Guinea’ Southern Highlands.
There have been at least 45 aftershocks greater than magnitude 2.5 in the past day. The largest of the aftershocks was magnitude 6.2 according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
ExxonMobil said in an update on Tuesday it had shut the two LNG trains at the plant on the coast near Port Moresby after earlier shutting its Hides gas conditioning plant and Hides production pads in Hela province in the highlands region.
Evacuation of non-essential personnel from the Hides conditioning plant will continue on Tuesday.
Specialist engineers are also flying into Hides to join remaining personnel on site to assist with damage and repair assessments, ExxonMobil’s PNG unit said.
“A full assessment of the impact of the earthquake on the company’s Highlands facilities is likely to take time, and will be impacted by damage to roads and other infrastructure,” it said.
The Komo airfield has sustained damage and will remain closed until further notice.
According to ExxonMobil, communications continue to be one of the most significant challenges.
“We are deeply saddened by the damage this natural event has caused to the people in the Highlands provinces,” said Andrew Barry, ExxonMobil PNG managing director.
“We are continuing to try and re-establish communications with our nearby communities to understand the broader impacts. We are working closely with the National Disaster Centre, aid agencies and our community partners to help ensure any information is shared and relief plans are a coordinated effort,” he said.
ExxonMobil owns 41.6 percent in the LNG project while Oil Search holds a 29 percent interest in PNG LNG, partly located in the Highlands region of Papua New Guinea.
The project includes the gas conditioning plant in Hides and liquefaction and storage facilities near Port Moresby with a capacity of 6.9 million tonnes per year.