A lack of meaningful business or employment opportunities in rural host communities intensifies pressure on Oil Search to directly provide jobs or benefits. In many areas, we are one of only a few employers.

While local enterprises often face barriers to accessing opportunities in our supply chain due to limited capability or poor governance, their inclusion has several benefits. It supports our social licence to operate, helps to mitigate landowner-related conflict, contributes to host communities’ economic development, and helps the PNG Government to meet its small-to-medium enterprise development policy objectives. We therefore work closely with local enterprises to help them overcome common governance and capability obstacles through targeted programmes.

Oil Search aims to maximise the involvement of local communities and Lancos in business opportunities that arise from our operations. Our on-site business development specialists support local enterprise development; we seconde staff to help build up management systems and advise on business structures; we provide training to Lanco Directors to improve their governance and financial management; and Lanco staff are provided with personal and process safety training. We also seek opportunities to expand the use of Lancos by embedding a requirement for their use into contracts we hold with other suppliers.

We support local women through our Women in Sustainable Agriculture Programme (WSAP) by helping them to form agricultural cooperatives and providing training opportunities around basic business and agricultural skills. We provide the women with seeds and materials so they can sell their produce to us or at local markets to generate a source of income and economic independence. We also work with the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) to introduce drought-tolerant crops to farmers across our operational areas.

Since 2013, we’ve supported our approach to supplier development with local purchasing guidelines. These include: creating opportunities for local businesses to provide high-quality goods, services and skills to support our operations; and prioritising local procurement where the business can meet specified standards under commercially acceptable terms.