Australian integrated energy specialist, Origin Energy has broadened its footprint dramatically over the past two decades, with Papua New Guinea one of the key beneficiaries of its customer and environment-first ethos
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Matt Cole-Wilkin
Origin Energy is mirroring both its Australian success and its Australian ambitions in Papua New Guinea as it looks to become a turnkey facilitator of sustainable energy across the Asia-Pacific region.
Having made its name as a leading Australian integrated energy company in the country over the past 18 years, its supply of electricity and production of natural gas has laid the foundations from which its forward-thinking goals are now beginning to flourish across the region.
For PNG specifically, LNG is among the Company’s overriding focuses, alongside a host of renewable energy prospects which Origin hopes to optimise in bringing the nation ‘out of the darkness’.
“Origin also aspires to be the number one renewables company in Australia, by empowering our customers to reduce their carbon footprint through wind, solar and storage technology,” the Company affirms and adds on its website.
The journey to this current position of power began back in 2000 when Boral shareholders - a US-based organisation - approved the demerger of its energy business from the building and construction materials side. The resultant birth of Origin Energy has since gone on to make an impact on a global scale, with Australia at its heart.
“In 2012, we secured our largest ever wind power purchase agreement underpinning the development of Trustpower’s Snowtown II Wind Farm in South Australia,” the Company continues. “[Later], the $24.7 billion Australia Pacific LNG project commenced in 2015, with the first cargo of liquefied natural gas shipped in January, 2016.”
Epitomising both the scale of the business at this point, as well as its diversification ambitions, such operations are now synonymous with the Origin Energy brand across Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Kenya, Fiji, and of course Papua New Guinea.
Now comprising seven branches across the latter where sales, distribution, management and R&D have all become localised, the country is well on its way to witnessing the long-term benefits that Origin Energy will bring.
Inevitably, Port Moresby serves as primary host to the Company in PNG as a significant regional hub, and is backed-up by a presence point in Purari Wabo.
From here, Origin Energy is evaluating the potential for a hydroelectric development through PNG Energy Developments Limited; a 50-50 joint venture between Origin and PNG Sustainable Development Programme Limited.
Initially, the aforementioned focus of LNG dominated the Company’s plans for PNG but already the same diversification that has occurred in Australia is being seen in the South Pacific country.
Senior Management has alluded to a desire to “bring to light” a PNG that is “still in the dark” and lacking sufficient power. In fact, as much as 85 percent of the country is still affected by this shortfall, making Origin’s task vast but potentially lucrative.
Investments into solar options have therefore already begun compounding the Company’s LPG efforts, and it won’t be long until the remainder of its core services join the fray.
“Exploration and production is the first thing we do,” the Company explains. “We explore below the land and ocean beds looking for natural gas reserves. And once we find gas, we plan the safest way to extract it so we can then develop and deliver it to our customers.”
Gas production naturally follows on, and a plethora of wholesalers, stores and end users are already benefiting from this offering in PNG.
‘Generation’ then forms the second facet, as the business continues: “We're the largest owner of natural gas-fired power stations in Australia. We also produce power from coal, wind, pumped water storage, solar and cogeneration plants.
“[Renewable energy is the third service area] and every day we provide a range of renewable energy options to hundreds of thousands of Australians. Since our company formed in 2000, we’ve made huge investments in wind, geothermal, hydropower and solar technologies, both in Australia and overseas. And while some of these technologies are yet to prove commercially viable, we’re definitely not giving up. In fact, growing our position in renewable energy is one of our major priorities.”
Lighting up the dark
Origin can now boast more than a decade of experience in the renewables domain, ensuring experience and expertise needed to recreate similarly successful initiatives in new jurisdictions.
And the final aim to signify that all of the pieces of the puzzle have come together will be to replicate its energy sales remit in PNG.
“We’re really proud that we are one of Australia’s leading energy companies selling energy to Australian homes, businesses and industrial customers,” the Company affirms.
Once this comes to fruition, locals can look forward to a customer-first approach that comprises flexible payment options, technological sensitivity and astuteness, market-leading customer service, and an unrivalled knowledge of the local consumer environment.
And perhaps even more significantly, Origin Energy will contribute extensively to a much longer-term benefit in the form of ecological responsibility and safeguarding the wider sustainability of the country through its carbon commitments.
“Origin was the first energy company in the world to sign up to seven initiatives under the global ‘We Mean Business' coalition,” the Company details. “The collation is a worldwide group of companies, institutional investors and non-government organisations committed to leadership on climate change.”
Progress as part of this coalition is defined by seven poignant parameters, which are already being driven in Australia and will now be implemented - through Origin - across Papua New Guinea.
Climate change monitoring; responsible corporate engagement; emission reduction targets; carbon cost assessments; renewable energy success; climate pollutant reductions; and the removal of commodity-driven deforestation across supply chains are already contributing to Origin’s goal of becoming Australia’s leading renewable and low-carbon energy provider.
And as the business now looks to increase grid reach by 10 percent in PNG over the next five years, it won’t be long until the same drivers are making an impact on a broader scale; ultimately making power more affordable and accessible, and “lighting up the dark” in Papua New Guinea.