Harness opens PNG training hub

QUEENSLAND-based Harness Group is defying the downward trend in the global resources sector, opening up new facility in Papua New Guinea to act as High Arctic Energy Services’ sole supplier of training and competency services in the nation.
Harness opens PNG training hub Harness opens PNG training hub Harness opens PNG training hub Harness opens PNG training hub Harness opens PNG training hub

Haydn Black


The move follows a decision last year to develop a new safety, induction and technical training facility in Port Moresby.

HAES is crewing up two new rigs in PNG to support drilling by Oil Search, ExxonMobil and others, and has asked Harness to conduct almost weekly training sessions covering all aspects of company culture and safety on the rig for new employees. One of the main challenges in PNG is language, literacy and numeracy shortcomings of the participants.

Company founder and CEO Michael O'Reilly said Harness is still delivering high quality training up to Australian Standards despite the language, literacy and numeracy issues.

"This is being achieved through a mixture of practical training by making use of our practical training simulator on site," he said.

"HAES is becoming even more active in PNG and is looking to Harness as the most innovative training partner of choice in delivering practical training to their staff."

In addition to operating two heli-portable drilling rigs, HAES owns and operates the only heli-portable hydraulic workover rig in the region.

Other service offerings include a large fleet of support equipment, including cranes, trucks, forklifts, pumps, light towers, and rig matting.

PNG is a small but important part of Harness' business, and the company has actually been growing over the past 18 months, opening new offices across Asia and scoring a deal with the world's largest onshore drilling company.

"We are now probably the largest drilling and well control training company in South-East Asia," O'Reilly told PNG Industry News.

"We have just opened an office in Malaysia, where we have access to clients like Petronas, and we have just signed a four-year control with Shell Brunei for four years.

"That has been a big deal for us, at a time when Australia is quietening down."

An intellectual property agreement with Nabors Drilling, the owner of the world's largest onshore drilling fleet, will see the US company use Harness' materials across its 600 rigs.

"It's a great story, a little upstart Australian company mixing it up with the big boys in the North Sea and Texas, and winning," O'Reilly said.

"It's a big deal for us."

It hasn't been an overnight success.

O'Reilly started Harness a decade ago, but has only been focused fulltime on it for the past four years, but that attention has helped it grow into Malaysia, Brunei, PNG, Indonesia and New Zealand.

"The training business in particular has been fairly resilient during the downturn in oil and gas, and we have been very lucky to get these big contracts with Shell Brunei, which is basically the national oil company of Brunei, and Nabors do such a lot of work with Saudi Aramco that they will be good cornerstones, giving us exposure even further afield.

The company runs up to seven courses a week under the IWCF [International Well Control Forum] and IADC [International Association of Drilling Contractors] standards putting up to 70 people through their paces from its facilities across the region.

O'Reilly estimates around 3000 people are being trained per year.

Harness is running several courses per month in China with CNOOC and PetroMentor, and last year established a permanent training facility in Kuala Lumpur to support Petronas' graduate engineering development program.

"The aim of our programs is to open up opportunities in the oil and gas sector for Malaysians and see a growth in domestic capability," O'Reilly said.

He said Malaysia was the "regional epicentre for learning and development", and he hopes the company will be able to thrive there.


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