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Starting the new year in Vietnam and Japan
Kumul Petroleum employees Marama Kariko (left) and Stephanie Apoa will spend the first two months of the new year acquiring new skills in Vietnam and Japan.

Starting the new year in Vietnam and Japan

Early in the new year, two young Kumul Petroleum employees will be on their way to Vietnam and Japan on a two-month training program. The program is organised by JX Nippon, Japan’s largest oil company. “Kumul Petroleum generously supports us with flights, accommodation and a travel allowance on top of our usual graduate salary”, say Geologist Marama Kariko and Petroleum Engineer Stephanie Apoa.

The two young women are six months into Kumul Petroleum’s two-year graduate program. “We established the program to qualify a new generation of Papua New Guineans for demanding jobs in the oil and gas industry, jobs we previously had to recruit for overseas. Marama and Stephanie are the third cohort and the JX Nippon training program has been part of our graduate education all along”, says Managing Director Wapu Sonk, Kumul Petroleum.

First stop is Vietnam. The port city of Vung Tau in the south of Vietnam is dominated by crude oil and natural gas exploitation and this is where Marama and Stephanie will be based for the first seven weeks. The Rang Dong oil field is 135 kilometres offshore from Vung Tau and this will be the focus of the training program.

“The geology program consists of seismic interpretation, depth structure mapping, reserves calculation and risk analysis of the oil field and I’ll learn to use all relevant computer software”, explains Marama. Stephanie will take part in the reservoir engineering program. “Our program is mainly focused on material balance analysis, well test analysis and reservoir simulation of the oil field using various computer software.”

A site visit to the Rang Dong oil field is part of the training program and Marama and Stephanie are excited. “None of us have ever been to an offshore oil field and it adds a whole new perspective to our work – all of a sudden it becomes real, not just a computer simulation.”

The two Kumul Petroleum employees will spend the last 10 days of the trip in Tokyo. “It will be a busy time. We will be visiting JX Nippon’s head office, LNG and crude oil terminals and refineries as well as JX fuel service stations. There is no way we could gain the same experience in PNG, the facilities simply aren’t here.”

Marama and Stephanie expect to grow at a personal level as well. “Socially it will be very different but I plan to immerse myself and embrace the culture, food and people”, says Marama. Stephanie agrees: “I’ve only been overseas once before, to China, so I don’t know what to expect. But Asian culture is very different to Melanesian so we might get a culture shock but that’s part of the experience. The food and maybe a language barrier will probably be our biggest challenges.”

The two young women are extremely grateful to Kumul Petroleum and JX Nippon for the opportunity. “The Kumul Petroleum management take their responsibility very seriously. The company’s vision is to empower the people of PNG and building our skills through training – including overseas training – is definitely empowering us. The Kumul Petroleum graduate program turns us into a much more valuable asset to the company and to the country. We are privileged to be part of it.”

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