PNG Government Working To Resolve Electricity Problems

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PM informs parliament of various funding scenarios, projects

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 8, 2014) – The Government is working on a number of funding options to address the chronic power problems in the country, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament yesterday.

Mr O’Neill said the Government is working with Exxon Mobil, Oil Search and Barrick to extend power production to all Highlands provinces.

"We are also looking at producing biomass in Markham in Morobe which will supply 25-30 megawatts, which is now about to be concluded soon," Mr O’Neill said.

"And in Kutubu where there is oil we are trying to utilise that to generate power and it will produce about 30 megawatts there which will be able to supply the whole of the Highlands region, Western Highlands, Chimbu and Eastern Highlands," he said.

Mr O’Neill also said in the nation’s capital the Government was looking at every option to establish hydro at Brown River to increase capacity and power supply in Port Moresby.

"At the same time they were increasing maintenance work on Rouna to further boost electricity so to provide the best to the people who are paying 70t per kilowatt per hour, the highest in the world," he said.

The PM was responding to questions raised by West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel on constant power blackouts around the country that have disrupted business operations with many losing business because of defunct standby generators.

"I want to assure the people of this House that Government has taken ownership of the issue.

We have stablised the board now, the management of PNG Power are putting together a long-term plan in addressing shortage of power in the country," Mr O’Neill said.

Mr Muthuvel also took the Government to task to explain if there were plans for geothermal supply. Prime minister said there were plans and the Government was already onto this issue.

But he glad fully spoke about the two turbines that will power about 30 mega watts that have already been shipped and on the way from the United States to PNG, for Port Moresby and Lae.

"As we speak, Mr Speaker the two generators are on the ship to POM and Lae.

It will solve our immediate problem but it will not fix our long term problem that is why our Government is working very hard. So this Government is doing all it can in Lae we are well advanced in increasing the capacity through Ramu and we have Yonki," he said.

"I am also happy to say that some of these discussions are very positive. With Exxon Mobil we have convinced them to sell some gas back to PNG so we can use gas to generate power in the country.

"I am thankful to Exxon Mobil and Oil Search for their understanding and agreement for them to provide power."

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