Santos PNG operations close following earthquake

Santos is the latest oil and gas company to report that its assets in Papua New Guinea have been closed following an earthquake in the country’s Highlands yesterday morning.

The Adelaide-based company today advised that gas production at the PNG LNG Hides plant and the Kutubu gas facilities has been “safely shut down as a precautionary measure” following the earthquake and a series of aftershocks.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit south-west of Porgera at a depth of 35km on Monday morning.

“The company has been advised by PNG LNG operator ExxonMobil PNG that no staff or contractors have been injured as a result of these seismic events, and all personnel are safe and accounted for,” Santos reported in an ASX announcement.

“Production will remain shut-down whilst a full assessment of the impact of the earthquake is made.”

Santos owns 13.5 per cent of the PNG LNG operation. ExxonMobil (33.2 per cent and operator) and Oil Search (29 per cent) hold the major interests in PNG LNG.

In a statement yesterday, ExxonMobil said it was continuing to assess damage to its facilities in Southern Highlands and Hela Provinces.

“The Hides Gas Conditioning Plant has been safely shut down and our wellpads have been shut in as a precaution until full assessments can be completed,” ExxonMobil said.

“Preliminary reports from the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant indicate the administration buildings, living quarters and the mess hall have sustained damage. Flights into the Komo airfield have also been suspended until we are able to survey the runway.”