Massive natural disaster hits Papua New Guinea

A supplied image shows locals inspecting a landslide and damage to a road located near the township of Tabubil after an earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands

Major quake cuts communications, halts oil and gas operations in Papua New Guinea

An natural disaster measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale hit Southern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said on Monday.

"No injuries have been reported so far", Oil Search said in an ASX announcement.

The quake occurred at around 3:44 AM Monday local time at an estimated depth of 35 kilometers near the Southern Highlands area of New Guinea island.

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The location of a 7.5 magnitude quake in Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

ExxonMobil Corp said it had shut its Hides gas conditioning plant, close to the quake's epicentre, to assess any damage.

The officials were for detailed information about the damages that happened from the magnitude of 7.5 quakes and rattled about 89 kilometers southwest of Portugal in the Pacific Island nation. "ExxonMobil PNG has confirmed that the PNG LNG facility at Hides has also been safely shut down".

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"The bush structures that they build tend to handle earthquakes extremely well", Christian missionary Brandon Buser told Reuters after contacting several remote villages by shortwave radio.

Earthquakes are common in Papua New Guinea, which sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire", a belt of tectonic plates circling the Pacific Ocean with frequent seismic activity.

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