Executive calls PNG ‘home’

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 10th Febuary 2012

AT least, for one member of Shell’s senior management team at the opening of the company’s Papua New Guinea office at Petromin Haus in Port Moresby yesterday PNG is a place that he calls “home”.
Australian Marc Gerrits, Shell’s vice-president exploration – Asia, was born in Angoram along the Sepik River and spent his early years in PNG before returning to Australia in 1977, where he completed high school and university to become a geologist.
Gerrits, who was instrumental in Shell’s return to PNG, admitted in an interview with The National yesterday that his heart was still with PNG as that was where he was born.
“Your heart is where you were born,” he said.
“I was born in Angoram along the Sepik River in 1964.
“My father was a doctor in Angoram.
“We then moved to Popondetta, Kiriwina, then Maprik and Wewak.
“My father was a leprosy and TB specialist.
“He was and is very interested in the culture.
“He is at the moment writing a book on culture in the Maprik area.”
Gerrits said Shell had been studying developments in PNG for quite a while now before deciding to return.
“We operate many gas projects around the world,” he said.
“We work closely with governments and national oil companies for the people.
“That’s exactly what we want to do here.”
“We believe very strongly in developing local talent.
“We operate very much from a position of business principles.
“In terms of PNG, we have a long working history here.
“We hope opportunities will emerge to do more.”
Asked about what projects Shell would be involved in, Gerrits said: “It’s still very early days.
“The ingredients are good.
“Papua New Guinea is very promising.
“We’re no longer involved in downstream here.
“There has been a significant degree of success in PNG.
“We firmly believe that there’s more to come and I believe Shell is part of that bigger picture.”