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Speeches, 01 March 2017

National Content

PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit, Susil Nelson-Kongoi, National Content Manager, ExxonMobil PNG Limited

It’s a pleasure to be here today and to share a little about ExxonMobil PNG’s National Content strategy, and importantly how it is contributing to tangible benefits and long lasting opportunities for Papua New Guinea.   

Importance of National Content 

Despite being one of the most resource rich nations on earth, Papua New Guinea still ranks as one of the world’s poorest in terms of economic capacity.

The benefits from major resource projects like PNG LNG, must therefore translate to sustainable growth for Papua New Guinea and improved livelihoods for its people.   

ExxonMobil’s commitment in every host nation where we have operations is to help develop human, social and economic capacity in a way that benefits people, communities and business over the long term. 

Our National Content strategy is an important component of our business, and its elements are embedded into our daily processes, procedures and plans.  

Our National Content initiatives are not intended to take the place of the responsibilities of the government in the areas of community investment, education or economic enablers for business to grow.  

We view National Content as a critical partnership responsibility throughout the full lifecycle of our business. ExxonMobil, government, suppliers, contractors, non-profit organisations and community associations all have a unique part to play in the development of national content. The combined role of everyone, if synchronized correctly, leads to economic progress and development.  

National Content Strategy

Our approach to National Content and capacity building focuses on creating jobs, educating and training Papua New Guinean employees and suppliers, transferring knowledge and skills, buying local goods and services and investing in communities to create sustainable benefits.

Our national content program consists of three core elements:

  • Workforce Development
  • Supplier Development and
  • Strategic Community Investment 

Let me briefly break down each element a little further.  

Workforce Development

Building operational and intellectual capacity in Papua New Guinea is one of our top priorities. Our Workforce development program is structured to provide Papua New Guineans the experience and competencies needed to run our business for many decades to come.  

We are committed to employing as many qualified people as possible from communities in which we operate and we also work with our contractors to help them maximize local employment opportunities.

We are continuing to build the skills of Papua New Guinean citizens through training programs focused on developing the technical skills of the production workforce, including building the capacity of graduate engineers and Operations and Maintenance trainees.  

Around 2500 people are responsible for operating PNG LNG. Around 82 percent are Papua New Guinean. For an organisation that has only been in production for three years we are very proud of that figure.  

Our business is incredibly technical and complex, and the skills required in some areas can take decades to build. Training is the key enabler for a highly qualified and professional workforce.

Since the start of production our staff has received over 200,000 hours of training. This is in addition to the more than 2 million hours of training delivered during construction.  

Last year the fourth group of Operations and Maintenance trainees began their journey, increasing the number of trainees at various stages of their career to more than 210. Impressively more than 50 of our trainees are women who are forging new career paths for young women in Papua New Guinea.  

The fourth intake will also for the first time receive some of their complex technical training from a Papua New Guinean provider - Kumul Academy. We are delighted to see the development of this important training facility - whose very existence has come about because of PNG LNG.  

Supplier Development 

A challenge with any major resource project is to ensure that the employment and procurement opportunities generated by development is optimised in a way that contributes towards greater local economic development, while at the same time managing local expectations.

A key component of ExxonMobil’s strategy to build capacity in Papua New Guinea involves creating opportunities for local businesses - from small micro-SMEs all the way through to large landowner companies.

To date, we have spent over 13.2 billion kina on services provided by Papua New Guinean companies. Of this, 3.5 billion has been spent with landowner companies - these are the companies formed in our earliest days to represent geographic areas within PNG LNG’s footprint.   

Today we engage local suppliers for a range of production-related activities. We currently contract landowner companies to provide labour hire, maintenance, transportation, fuel distribution, container freighting and vegetable supplies.  

We have supported the growth of these landowner companies, with the goal of helping them to become nationally competitive businesses that are able to service other clients in addition to PNG LNG, well into the future.  

One of the most significant ways that we have helped landowner companies, as well as other local businesses, to build their capacity is again through training.

We partnered with the PNG Institute of Banking and Business Management to establish the Enterprise Centre in 2010.  

The primary purpose of the centre was to help create opportunities for PNG businesses and develop capacity - through the delivery of accredited training. 

The Enterprise Centre has been successful beyond expectations and its services are delivering value outside of the PNG LNG Project.

To date, they have completed over 450 business assessments, assisted over 18,000 local entrepreneurs and conducted more than 29,000 days of training and over 1200 advisory and mentoring days.

Total Waste Management

Total Waste Management is a fantastic example of a local supplier that we have worked with to build their capacity as a business.

This supplier operates a range of potable and wastewater treatment plants across the PNG LNG facilities and has worked with us for a number of years.  

After witnessing the ongoing education and training opportunities offered to ExxonMobil staff, the management at TWM recognised that their operators, though rich in experience, were in need of formal training and qualifications that would help them realise their potential.

With the support of ExxonMobil PNG the company engaged a registered training organisation to provide their plant operators with formal training and qualifications in water operations.

The staff embraced the training enthusiastically and successfully completed their qualifications ahead of schedule and the company now plans to offer training to staff from other areas of their business.  

As a result of capacity build TWM has since been involved on a number of major shutdown works on the PNG LNG project in particular and most recently completed was the catalyst and activated carbon change out of the molecular sieve vessels and Amine carbon filter medium vessel respectively. The project was the first of its kind conducted on the PNG LNG project so there was much anticipation and interest placed on our contractor to undertake this high risk activity. High risk in the sense that it involved a number of key life saving actions namely working at heights, confined space and inert entry and breaking containment.  

TWM as the contractor for the works were instrumental throughout the planning, preparation, execution and review and close out of the project. No major incidences occurred and the shutdowns were completed ahead of schedule and below budget.

We hold training and development in the highest regard and I believe that this story shows just how powerful leading by example can be.

Strategic Community Investmen

The overall objective of our strategic community investments is to enhance sustainable economic development. We focus on education, health, women’s empowerment and livelihood support. These have a tangible and direct effect on the community and on our business.

Our approach is based on partnerships and participation. We work with communities and government agencies to identify, define and prioritise potential programs that build the capacity of individuals and community institutions. It takes a significant investment in time as well as financial support, but the reward comes when organisations and individuals you are partnering start to stand on their own and pass their knowledge onto others.

As Andrew Barry mentioned yesterday, ExxonMobil PNG and PNG LNG has invested more than 800 million kina to build infrastructure, develop social programs and enhance skills and knowledge to improve the quality of life for people in Papua New Guinea.  

We are helping to build the capacity of teachers through training programs and funding of housing for teachers and their families. We are helping provide improved learning environments for PNG LNG Project area children by building and renovating classrooms and classroom furniture.  

We are very proud of our support for the Texas Childrens Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine whose maternal and public health program places specialist doctors from the United States in PNG universities and hospitals to deliver lectures, research support as well as provide mentorship, guidance and hands on training to medical students.

Our Community Livelihood Improvement Project works with communities, primarily women, to promote the importance of planting a variety of crops to produce surplus as part of their food security planning. Participants are taught how to use their normal crops like cassava and banana to bake cakes to sell in the market as additional income source. Setting up simple poultry facilities in their local community is another small enterprise which the women are involved in to earn income for their families. 

Providing opportunities to women is something we are very passionate about. Since 2006, ExxonMobil has helped 62 Papua New Guinean women attend the Global Women in Management (GWIM) training program. The ExxonMobil-led program strengthens their skills in areas such as project and financial management, proposal writing, leadership and advocacy. These women are strong leaders in their own communities, who are already making a significant contribution in their roles within the nonprofit sector, entrepreneurial sector, community and greater society. 

These are just a few examples of community programs which are helping to deliver sustainable economic development.  

In conclusion, ExxonMobil PNG’s focus on national content is making an important contribution to Papua New Guinea’s long-term development. 

We believe through our focus on local skills development, empowerment and ownership, benefits from PNG LNG are sustainable over the long-term.

Thank you.