By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 21) – Oil Search Ltd. has retained most ChevronTexaco employees after the official handover of the operation during a ceremony at the Moro Oil field on Friday. 

In welcoming the staff, Oil Search chairman Trevor Kennedy expressed thanks to ChevronTexaco for their outstanding efforts in leading the development of the oil fields in the country. 

The handover marked a significant occasion for Oil Search, which assumed the operating role of all the major oil fields in the country. 

Mr Kennedy said ChevronTexaco has been actively developing oil and gas in PNG for almost 20 years and without their leadership, tremendous skills, their faith and tenacity, the PNG petroleum business would not be so advanced.

"ChevronTexaco has done this by being an outstanding corporate citizen, developing a true partnership with its Conventurers, the communities in which they work, the PNG Government and its people.

"They have provided leadership in many community initiatives, including the CDI Foundation, a ground breaking partnership, developing sustainability in long term community based projects in health, education and business development. 

"On behalf of our company, joint venture partners and other stakeholders I would like to express our real appreciation for what its has done. Its legacies will attest to its commitment and professionalism for many years to come.

"This clearly includes their wonderful staff, a group of highly trained and motivated people who we are pleased to welcome to Oil Search to form a new team for our future.

"We understand ChevronTexaco's reasons for leaving PNG but as one door closes another opens - one of tremendous opportunity for Oil Search, our people and PNG," Mr Kennedy said.

He said it is the culmination of a remarkable growth story for a PNG company.

"Only 10 year ago, Oil Search, as a locally based organization, having survived over 60 years without production income, owned less than 10 per cent of the oil and gas business in Papua New Guinea and employed around 25 staff. 

"Now we own 70 per cent of the country's discovered oil reserves and over 50 per cent of gas resources. We will have grown to over 800 staff and be a regionally significant operator and producer being responsible for around 10 per cent of PNG's GDP and 20 per cent of its export revenue.

"That is, as a company based in a developing country, is almost unprecedented around the world," he said. 

Managing director of Chevron Australia Jay Johnson said ChevronTexaco leaves PNG after 25 years involvement and was proud of its achievements in PNG's oil industry.

He said the company's operations in PNG had grown to the current stage as a result of a joint effort from everyone involved in the company and the oil industry. 

"A company is just a piece of paper, it is nothing more than a legal entity," he said, adding that "it is the collective contribution of individuals, development of a joint culture and a joint perspective in a way of life and the decision of how it is going to move forward collectively to accomplish its outstanding objectives."

October 21, 2003

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