Earthquakes, disease outbreaks and ongoing tribal conflict: in 2018, the Oil Search Foundation went above and beyond, working hand-in-hand with our partners to make a difference for individuals and communities.



In 2018, the Foundation faced one of its toughest years. The earthquake, which struck the PNG highlands in the early hours of 26 February, devastated many local communities. 


Some of our camps were damaged, people lost homes, gardens and water supplies, and many experienced the trauma that can result from a life-threatening event.

Together, Oil Search and the Foundation worked long hours, in very difficult conditions, to provide immediate relief, including water, food and shelter, medical assistance and supplies. 

Oil Search as a company was recognised nationally and internationally for leadership in the aftermath of the earthquake. The Foundation played a critical part in that achievement. 

I have often heard that tackling complex problems in PNG is very difficult and sometimes too hard. But the Foundation has never shied away from a challenge when there is an opportunity to make a difference. We will always find a way to achieve sustainable results, do so through innovation and partnership, and maintain the attitude that success is always possible, even in the toughest of times. 

In November, I was privileged to speak at the APEC CEO Summit. I reinforced the need for the private sector to support government to achieve both social and economic change for its people. This is, of course, the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense. 

The reality is that unrest and breakdown of law and order can stop operations. To achieve stability, we must work with communities. Fences alone do not keep people out. 

Oil Search has made a significant investment in the Foundation because we want our communities to be healthy, educated and well-informed. We want PNG’s women, children and men to be safe in their homes, villages and country. We want and need a highly skilled workforce, and we want women and men to be actively participating in economic development. 

As chairman of the Foundation, I am proud of how quickly our team steps up, time and time again, to face what can sometimes seem like impossible challenges. 

I firmly believe that what happens here in PNG can be a model for economic and social development in other countries. 

We all need to continue going above and beyond because it is the only way to address the many challenges and opportunities we face. Our results are testament to this principle. We have made 

so much progress by working strategically together, and I look forward to what we will achieve in 2019.





Catchment population in earthquake affected areas across four provinces 



villages reached with a range of relief and response services – water, food, shelter, emergency kits



Total funding received and managed by the Foundation for earthquake relief, recovery, and rebuilding 



health centres received essential emergency medical kits 


Leadership and Education

Through the Foundation’s leadership and education programmes, we supported early childhood education, scholarships, and initiatives to develop the next generation of leaders.

Children’s literacy

2018 was a difficult year for the Foundation’s literacy libraries in Tari, Hela Province. We started with 160 children enrolled in early childhood learning programmes in partnership with Buk bilong Pikinini. We had just opened the second library in the Habare community and were commencing another full year at our Kaluanda library when the earthquake struck. 

The disaster, coupled with tribal fighting, had a devastating impact on both libraries, with the Kulanda library closing indefinitely. 


Throughout the year, the Habare community continued to prioritise literacy, working with us to establish a temporary classroom while the library was repaired. It reopened in early 2019, with 100 children enrolled.

The Foundation is working closely with the United Church to establish a new library in Kikori by refurbishing infrastructure, supplying books and materials and training teachers. While waiting for the construction of a library, the community, like Habare, worked with us to establish a temporary building so that about 50 children could commence their education. This community ownership demonstrates the high priority they place on literacy. 

The demand from communities and leaders for literacy libraries for early childhood development remains very high.