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Gulf Province Government Wants More from Pasca A Deal
by PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Photo Credit: Twinza Oil Ltd
The landmark Pasca A Project agreement, in which the National Government will walk away with a 55 per cent interest in the first offshore gas project in the Gulf of Papua New Guinea, will see Gulf Province demand a considerably larger share of the profits.
Twinza Oil and the National Government revealed the results of the talks, which include a 2% royalty to landowners through the provincial government (due to the project's off-shore location), a 2% development tax, 2% from net gross production, and a 2% development levy.
“Our position is simple – and that is to take back a greater share of our resources for the province,” Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta said.
He made the statement after the State Negotiating Team, chaired by Petroleum Secretary David Manau, and Twinza Oil reached an agreement.
According to Haiveta, the National Government will gain greatly from the finished negotiations.
“How we share the benefits will be discussed at the development forum but for headline items, this (deal) ensures the State a bigger stake of 55 per cent, which is more than the 51 per cent stake in the Papua LNG project,” he said.
According to Haiveta, the previous administration set the production levy at 2%, but Prime Minister James Marape increased it to 5%.
In terms of royalties, he added that under the new rate, the provincial government will receive greater advantages — unlike previous agreements for other project regions.
The province administration, according to Haiveta, supports the Prime Minister and Twinza's national content strategy, in which landowners will be awarded food supply, security, and transportation contracts.
These topics would be considered in the development forum, he added.
“We will also talk about benefit-sharing on the development levy and equity,” Mr Haiveta said.
Nicholas, Issac. Post-Courier (14 July 2021). “Gulf To Push For More From Pasca Deal”.
PNG Business News - April 22, 2021
Government Increases Its Demand for Pasca A Deal
According to project operator Twinza Oil Ltd, the government has raised its demand for the Pasca A Gas agreement once again, ahead of the scheduled signing. According to a statement from Twinza, the government told the firm last Friday that signing the agreement now demanded a 6% production levy. It read: “This is 4 per cent higher than the production levy that was agreed as part of the comprehensive terms (agreed terms) for Pasca A, negotiated by the state negotiating team and announced by the Prime Minister James Marape last Sept 24. “The additional levy requested would make the Pasca A project un-financeable for any investor. “The agreed terms would have delivered the highest State take from any resource development in PNG and were widely regarded as meeting all of the demands of the State, including early revenues, full royalty and development levy entitlement and a domestic market obligation of 5 to 10 per cent while satisfying the requirements of project financiers.” it said that the State had also attempted to amend the negotiated terms through a letter from Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua on February 4. “The Government’s demand to raise the fiscal take to (between) 55 and 60 per cent nominal share, which is 75 to 85 per cent of the actual project value, would make Pasca A unviable for investors and financiers alike,” it said. “Notwithstanding the changing State positions, Twinza remains committed to PNG and progressing the Pasca A Project on the agreed terms.” Twinza gave an extra concession to the negotiated terms, raising the production levy to 4%, with a further rise to 6% at higher oil prices, in an attempt to close the deal. “This will provide 65 to 70 per cent of project value to the State or 52 to 54 per cent of nominal take,” it said. “The State take has been independently verified by Deloitte in a comprehensive report commissioned by the Department of Petroleum and delivered to the minister this month.” Twinza has kept its project team for Feed (front-end engineering and design) – readiness in the hope that the gas deal will be concluded by the end of 2020 after the negotiated terms were confirmed by Marape in September. The Pasca A gas agreement reached this month would have required the project to enter the Feed process right away, with a final investment decision expected in 2022 and first production in 2025. “Given the continued delays, Twinza will now stand down the Pasca Project team until there is clarity on terms and execution of the gas agreement.” Chairman and chief executive Ian Munro said: “Twinza was awarded the Pasca license nearly 10 years ago as a foreign direct investor. Since then, the firm has invested over K350 million in cultivating a field that was discovered more than 50 years ago but overlooked by other industry players. “It is disappointing that at the closing stages of a drawn-out 10-month gas agreement process, the State is now seeking to again revise terms to ones that are demonstrably unacceptable to any investor. “Consequently, while Twinza remains committed to progressing the Pasca A project on a fair and equitable basis, the company will streamline its costs while awaiting a gas agreement signing on acceptable terms. “We remain focused on developing PNG’s first offshore oil and gas field and opening up the Gulf of Papua to much-needed investment as soon as circumstances allow.”
PNG Business News - May 07, 2021
Pasca A Project now Expected to Start in 2025
The Pasca A offshore oil and gas project in Gulf faces further delay to its start-up which is now expected in 2025, says developer Twinza Oil Ltd. The project will continue to be postponed until a deal is signed, according to Roppe Uyassi, who added that the project's delay would likely be compounded by the project team's departure. “This is really unfortunate for PNG, following the lengthy delays we have already seen from resource projects in PNG such as Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu,” Uyassi said. Only prior to signing the deal last month, the government made it clear that it wanted a 6% export tax before it could sign it. According to the developer, it was 4% more than what had been settled upon previously. While the window for negotiations was still open, Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua said it was critical to secure the best offer for the region. Oil and gas discovery and production, according to Uyassi, is a "highly dangerous but potentially lucrative market." “There needs to be a balance that recognises the risk taken by private investors and the development goals and aspirations of PNG, and the best deal would be one that maximises revenues to PNG,” he said. “This could be in the form of payments to local businesses and employees, or taxes and royalties to the Government to fund the country’s development priorities in health, education, security, infrastructure etc. “Importantly, it must also provide an incentive for private investors from all over the world to provide their money to develop the Pasca A Project on the promise of profits that will reward them for taking the risk to invest in Papua New Guinea. “We firmly believe that the deal agreed to between the State and Twinza strikes the right balance and provides a win-win outcome for both parties, delivering the highest State take of any resource development in PNG, be it on a discounted or nominal project value going to the State. “We understand that the outcomes of over 65 per cent discounted and 52 per cent nominal State take were even verified and benchmarked independently by Deloitte after being consulted by the State. “The agreed terms also included domestic market obligation (DMO) for the supply of gas being provided from the first year of production for the first time in PNG’s history, plus an increased percentage of domestic market gas supply to 10 per cent of production.” According to Uyassi, the Pasca Project would need at least K5 billion in additional funding in the coming years. “Even the State nominee carrying the State’s 22.5 per cent equity on the project going forward would require project financing to move this project forward into production, meaning that whatever terms we agree with the State must also be viable for the State nominee to raise financing. “The worst-case scenario would see Twinza sign an unviable gas agreement deal, only for the project to fail as it can’t attract investment from financiers who are more conservative than oil and gas project proponents such as Twinza.” Twinza had already started standing down the Pasca Project team due to the continuing delays in signing the deal, according to Uyassi, as the timetable of the gas agreement's implementation remained unclear. “This will continue, however, I will point out that as a foreign investor, Twinza has invested more than K350 million in the Pasca field over the past 11 years and will remain committed to PNG long-term,” he said. “The Pasca Project is ready to move into the Feed phase of project development soon after a successful gas agreement signing.” According to Uyassi, the project has been on hold since 2020, pending the start of the Feed process. “We remain hopeful that the development of PNG’s first offshore oil and gas field will commence soon,” he said. “We are committed to Papua New Guinea and remain hopeful this is something PNG will have to address for the long-term good of the industry and the many local businesses that depend on the industry.”
PNG Business News - June 01, 2021
Pasca A First Shipment Expected in 2025
According to Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua, the first cargo of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the US$1.6 billion (K5.5 billion) Pasca A project in the Gulf is expected to start in 2025. It will be the country's first offshore extractive resource project with infrastructure, located 95 kilometres offshore in seas 93 meters deep in the Gulf of Papua. Pasca A, according to Kua, is a modest gas condensate project in terms of reserves. The offshore production facilities, on the other hand, have the ability to combine tiny pockets of stranded gas deposits in the Gulf of Papua. “The project will evolve in a two-phased development plan. “In Phase One, rich liquids will be stripped and produced, namely liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and condensate while gas is re-injected. “In Phase Two, gas will be produced.” Phase One is estimated to take two years to complete and generate between 32 and 38 million barrels of LPG and condensates. In the third year of the project's manufacturing life, Phase Two will commence. During the project's ten-year lifespan, an estimated 330 to 400 billion cubic feet of gas (BCF) would be generated. Twinza Oil (PNG) Ltd, the operator, is concentrating on commercializing its "found but underdeveloped assets." Twinza Oil Ltd has a business relationship with Baker Hughes General Electric (BIIGE), which offers vendor finance for the company's drilling projects. Kua said in a statement that negotiations on the project began during the application stage for a petroleum development license in 2018. In 2020, the Cabinet established the State Negotiating Team (SNT) for the Pasca A project to negotiate a fair agreement for the state. “Last September, the Pasca A SNT and Twinza Oil Ltd initiated the term sheet for a Gas Agreement,” Kua said. “However, there were some misunderstandings on the financial analysis method used and the domicile status of the company. “These have been resolved through the SNT negotiations and offline discussions with Twinza. “In negotiating resource projects deals for the country, the State has taken an approach to tax from production rather than profits. “The Pasca A SNT has so far negotiated the production levy from the base case of 2 per cent (equal to Papua LNG Gas Agreement) from the Loloata initialled term sheet of last September, up to 4 per cent in April. “At a 5 per cent production levy that State would have reached 55 per cent state take on nominal cash flow analysis, which is what we want to achieve.”
PNG Business News - July 22, 2021
Oil Search Considering Merging with Santos
Santos, an Australian oil firm, announced its plan to combine with Oil Search Limited. Santos proposed a non-binding indicative merger last month with the goal of making the two companies the regional energy champions. The proposed merged entity has a market capitalization of A$22 billion (K56 billion), putting it among the top 20 ASX-listed companies and the top 20 global oil and gas companies. This means, among other things, that the merger will have a diverse portfolio of high-quality, long-life assets spanning Australia and Papua New Guinea, a solid balance sheet with ample cash to support expansion choices, and an investment-grade credit rating. The merger plan, if approved, would be conducted through a Scheme of Arrangement in which Oil Search shareholders would receive 0.589 new Santos shares for each Oil Search share held, according to Santos in a market disclosure to the Australian Stock Exchange. Following the scheme's acceptance, Oil Search shareholders would control 37% of the combined company, while Santos shareholders would own 63%. Based on Santos' closing price on June 24, 2021, the ownership ratio suggested a transaction price of A$4.25 (10.92) per Oil Search share. This was a 12.3% premium to the Oil Search closing price of A$3.78 (K9.72) on June 24, 2021, and a 9.8% premium to the Mubadala block trade selling price of A$3865. (K9.92). Kevin Gallagher, managing director and chief executive officer of Santos, said the merger will bring more alignment to PNG, allowing for the development of important projects such as Papua LNG, as well as the creation of new employment and support for the local economy. Santos, according to Gallagher, has proposed a true merger in which ownership of the combined firm is based on proportionate contribution and value. “The strategic rationale for a merger is clear and offers superior value to Oil Search shareholders rather than continuing on a standalone basis. “Santos continues to believe that the Merger Proposal represents an extremely attractive opportunity to deliver compelling value accretion to both Santos and Oil Search shareholders.” Oil Search stated in its ASX market update that it is open to receiving and engaging with any proposal that is in the best interests of its shareholders. While the company's board of directors agrees with Santos that combining the two firms makes strategic sense, the conditions must be fair to the company's shareholders, which the terms proposed by Santos are not. Despite Santos shareholders holding 70% more shares than Oil Search shareholders, Oil Search maintains that the proposed conditions provide just a 6.8% premium based on Friday's closing share prices for Oil Search and Santos. According to the firm, no such proposal has been made at this time. Reference: Post-Courier (21 July 2021). "Oil Search Open To Merger with Santos".
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Study Says Sweet Potato Growers Have Received Significant Insights into Customers Buying Habits
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), sweet potato (kaukau) growers have received significant insight into customer buying habits, which is assisting them in identifying new market possibilities. The recent market analysis, which was supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership and conducted by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, revealed that an increasing number of consumers in Port Moresby prefer to buy fresh produce from supermarkets, citing convenience and safety as reasons. While this trend may result in fewer consumers at conventional farmer markets, PNG and Australian experts believe it may open up new marketplaces for rural people. “Farmers are looking for stable markets where they can receive more consistent prices for better-quality produce,” said Professor Philip Brown from Central Queensland University (CQU), who is leading the research project. “The research shows that consumer behaviour is likely to support an expansion in the supermarket sector in large urban centres and this is positive news for the farmers. This could allow commercial focused farmers to secure more stable market access.” The study of 353 customers was conducted as part of ACIAR-funded sweet potato research sponsored by CQU and the PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), which aims to improve sweet potato value chains by increasing the quality of harvested roots. Sweet potato quality and production are improving, resulting in increasing supplies to retailers eager to provide better fresh produce. “The project, with support from the Fresh Produce Development Agency and NARI, is helping farmers to build their business skills and connect with emerging supermarket opportunities,” said Professor Brown. Kirt Hainzer, a CQU researcher who collaborated on the survey alongside NARI researchers, said it was the first study to look at customer behaviour and see what role stores may play in the development of PNG's commercial sweet potato sector. “The research sought to better understand and compare how consumers buy staples from open markets and supermarkets and to explore the preferences for purchasing staple foods as supermarkets increase the availability of convenience staples like rice,” said Hainzer. “Although expanding formal sales represents a huge step forward in developing a commercial sweet potato industry, continued research on consumer preferences and the market for fresh produce will help better understand trends in staple food purchasing and what market opportunities exist for growers.” With over a hundred kinds of sweet potato in the nation, NARI economist Raywin Ovah said the study sought to find out which of these customers preferred. “Not all the varieties are preferred from a consumer point of view. There are only a few that consumers want to be based on the taste or health properties and that is what we want to also find out. Farmers can be provided with that information, so they produce those varieties that the market wants.” One of five initiatives under the Transformative Agriculture and Enterprise Development Program is a project to increase commercial sweet potato production and commercialization in the PNG highlands. The ACIAR program, which is funded by Australia in collaboration with the government of Papua New Guinea, aims to improve the livelihoods of rural men and women through private sector-led development, increased agricultural productivity and quality, and the development of individual and institutional capacity. Reference: Loop (20 July 2021). “Study looks into sweet potato industry”.
PNG Business News - July 21, 2021
Garry: MRA Evaluating K50 Billion Worth of Investments
According to managing director Jerry Garry, the Mineral Resources Authority is evaluating more than K50 billion in investments in the country. Wafi-Golpu, Frieda River, and Woodlark are among them. “We are also looking at the Central Lime and Cement,” he said. “If that project comes on-stream, it will be one of the first industrial mines ever built in the country.” Garry was speaking at a Port Moresby consultation session on the Mine and Works (Safety and Health) Bill 2021. PNG, he added, was home to some of the world's largest mines. “We have grown from strength to strength,” he said. “If you compare the Bank of PNG statistics, the mining sector alone, in terms of production, has exported over K17 billion in 2020 and 2019. “So it’s a huge industry that we are trying to regulate and manage.” Garry expressed gratitude to the industry for making safety a primary priority. “They have been taking health and safety at the workplaces very seriously,” he said. “We must not only consider (the workers) and the environment but also people living around the (areas) we operate in. “And if we are using any hazards, we must also take responsibility.” The newest mining methods in Wafi-Golpu, known as block cave mining, are one of the new things to expect, according to Garry. “New mining hazards will come with this new mining method,” he said. Reference: The National (20 July 2021). “Authority assessing investments worth K50bil”.