Transport nightmares


I WRITE to emphasise the nightmare of transport to and from Kutubu LLG in the Nipa-Kutubu electorate of Southern Highlands.
The interconnectivity that was spurred by the rural airstrips, in the colonial era up to the early 1990s, was a blessing for Kutubu given its geographic isolation.
However, large, high-end investments were impossible given the single-engine third-level planes could not provide the most-optimum transport services.
The idea of inviting an investor to drill in the Toro sandstones to the west of Lake Kutubu was hatched in the House of Assembly.
The Government then was looking at alternative high-end foreign investments apart from Panguna copper mine on the island of Bougainville.
In the early 1990s, as tensions were running high, then Housing Minister Bai Waiba and the Mining and Oil Minister Roy Yaki visited Chevron Texaco in the United States.
The company was invited to drill the Toro sandstones.
The invitation was accepted.
Part of the deal was a credit guarantee scheme from Chevron to construct the 120km Kutubu Access Road.
Its construction in 1992 by Curtain Brothers, under the lead of civil engineer Francis Kaupa, ensured the most-efficient way to drill and operate the Kutubu oil project.
Most importantly it opened an alternative transport mode into Kutubu.
It helped prop up an ailing PNG economy and once supported the Kutubu Oil Project which was responsible for 27 per cent of GDP in 2005.
Today this road is further positioned to become an economic corridor as stated in the Vision 2050 document.

Mike Haharo