Oil & Gas exploitation in New Guinea | WWF

Oil & Gas exploitation in New Guinea

Oil Search Facility, Papua New Guinea

Pumping out resources, money and potentially problems

Oil and gas exploitation are sources of significant income in New Guinea. The problem is that these industries don't just generate cash - they can also potentially cause a range of environmental and social issues.

 rel= © WWF / Paul CHATTERTON

The continuing expansion of drilling for oil and gas around the world is placing increasing pressure upon the global environment. More and more, industry is seeking resources in remote and previously untouched areas, including the island of New Guinea.

What are the impacts?

The exploration of oil and gas deposits brings with it huge amounts of infrastructure, with pipelines and shipping routes stretching thousands of kilometres.

As a result, the potential for land clearance, pollution, oil spills and waste, can threaten marine, freshwater and forest habitats, and in turn the globally significant species and unique cultures that rely on them.

One of the fundamental impacts of the industry is the contribution that the use of fossil fuels make to climate change.

A giant gas field revealed…

In November 2006, a giant gas field estimated to contain reserves of more than 113 billion m3 was discovered on the upper reaches of the Purari River in Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is estimated that the giant reserve is capable of supplying a record 2.8 million m3 of gas and gas liquids a day.

InterOil, a Canadian oil and gas company, has been given the rights to extract the gas which is thought to be the biggest discovery of its kind in the history of PNG. It is believed that this new discovery could also be underpinned by a major oil basin.

One of the regions containing the highest levels of oil and gas deposits until now is also one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in PNG, the Kikori River Basin.
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