Papua New Guinea is the latest country to feel the effects of the world energy crisis.
Papua New Guinea is the latest country to feel the effects of the world energy crisis. The Chief Minister, Mr. Michael Somare, has announced a twenty per cent cutback in the amount of petroleum products currently being supplied to Papua New Guinea.
The Chief Minister said that the international situation meant that the oil companies operating in papua New Guinea were being forced to restrict the amount of fuel they could make available to consumers. He appealed to the public to make voluntary cutbacks in the use of private motor vehicles, and asked petrol station operators to limit the supply of petrol to one dollar per car in urban centres and two dollars per car in rural areas.
"At present the restrictions on the sale of petrol are on a trust system," Mr. Somare said, "however, if the private motorist abuses this trust then the restrictions will be more severe."
Mr. Somare also announced the establishment of a National Energy Conservation Task Force, headed by the Ministers of finance and of Mines and Energy.
The Visnews correspondent in Port Moresby reports that despite the announcement popular feeling is that the move is more preemptive than a response to an immediate shortage. However, there is some concern that fuel available for outboard motor boats, a much-used method of transport, might be affected.
The major airlines - Air Nuigini, Ansett and TAA - do not expect to be affected by the cuts, but domestic charter operators are anticipating some restrictions on their activities.
Papua New Guinea's major source of alternative power is from hydro-electric scheme. Kilowatt hours generated by the P.N.G. Electricity Commission doubled in the period 1967 to 1971. And it is anticipated that the Rouna Hydro-electric scheme, 18 miles (30 kilometres) from Port Moresby, will be supplying the capital's energy requirements early in 1974.
In addition it is hoped that Paua New Guinea might prove to be rich in natural gas and oil deposits. Several discoveries of natural gas in the Gulf area of Papua have already been made, and recent finds in Irian Jaya (the Indonesian half of the island) have encouraged the belief that Papua New Guinea itself might be equally well-endowed with natural fuel resources.