ExxonMobil shuts down Hides plant

ExxonMobil PNG has safely shut down the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant as well as its wellpads following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the Highlands at approximately 3:44am today.

The plant and wellpads have been shut as a precaution until full assessments can be completed on damages sustained during the earthquake.

In a statement, ExxonMobil PNG says it is putting plans in place to evacuate non-essential staff due to the damage to the Hides camp quarters and continuing aftershocks.

ExxonMobil said it has sustained damages to its facilities in Southern Highlands and Hela provinces, with preliminary reports from the Hides Gas Conditioning Plant indicating the administration buildings, living quarters and the mess hall have been damaged.

Flights into the Komo airfield have also been suspended until the runway is surveyed.

ExxonMobil says the safety and security of employees and contractors is a top priority and all employees and staff are safe and accounted for following the earthquake.

An emergency response plan has been activated and they are working to mobilise support, as soon as it is safe to do so. 

The company also said they are concerned about the impact the earthquake is having on nearby communities and while telephone communications have been impacted in the region, they are working with aid agencies and community partners to better understand damage in the local area.

Cedric Patjole