The successful Masters recipient is Mr Elizah Nagombi, who will start his Masters with course work at James Cook University (JCU) in February this year. The two successful Honours recipients are Ms Wilma Mavera and Ms Monica Kolkia. Both will start their Honours program at The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) early this year.

These scholarships are initiated under a collaborative program led by JCU and UPNG to research and conserve the dolphin species, Orcaella heinsohni.

The project also seeks to establish what other marine mammals occur in the Kikori Delta, and work with Papua New Guineans to develop a community-based management plan to enable long-term conservation of marine mammals in the Kikori region.

James Cook University researcher, Dr. Isabel Beasley, said the Kikori Delta was the remotest region in which she has studied inshore dolphins.

“Thankfully, ExxonMobil PNG has funded the project, which allows us to charter a live-aboard vessel to safely conduct surveys, and most importantly, engage numerous local PNG counterparts and students in the project,” said Dr. Beasley.

“The Kikori Delta is currently the only region in the Pacific Islands and West Papua where Orcaella heinsohni are found, so the population is considered a regional priority for research and conservation.”

UPNG Registrar, Jennifer Popat said The University of Papua New Guinea was proud to partner with James Cook University in this important marine research project.

“Without the support of ExxonMobil PNG for these Honours and Masters Scholarships, the scientific knowledge concerning this species of dolphins would remain incomplete,” she said.

EMPNG Managing Director, Andrew Barry said that, investing in these types of research programs is ExxonMobil’s long-term approach to preserving Papua New Guinea’s unique environment for future generations.

“In addition to the important information gained on inshore dolphins, the partnership with James Cook University and The University of Papua New Guinea is helping young Papua New Guineans to build research and development skills which are important for the preservation of the unique biodiversity of this country,” Mr. Barry said.

Pidu the rare dolphin species only found in the Kikori Delta of Papua New Guinea
Pidu the rare dolphin species only found in the Kikori Delta of Papua New Guinea


About ExxonMobil PNG

The PNG LNG Project is an integrated development that includes gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines and liquefaction facilities. Participating interests are affiliates of Exxon Mobil Corporation (including ExxonMobil PNG Limited as operator), Oil Search Limited, Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited, Santos Limited, JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration, Mineral Resources Development Company and Petromin PNG Holdings Limited. Visit