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Pasca A to Begin Soon

by PNG Business News - July 15, 2021

Photo Credit: Twinza Oil Limited

Following negotiations last week between the State and developer Twinza Oil Ltd, Pasca A in the Gulf is likely to get underway shortly.

Petrol Minister Kerenga Kua characterized the agreement between the State Negotiating Team (SNT) and Twinza as "by far the greatest" in terms of developing the country's petroleum resources.

“We delivered an agreement within the petroleum space, which is a new precedent from the existing projects,” he said.

The project is located 95 kilometres south of Gulf and is 100 meters below ground.

The reserves totalled 0.4 billion cubic feet, according to Kua.

“This project throughout its life will give us a total benefits package of 55 per cent, calculated on what financial modellers and economists called as nominal cash flow basis,” he said.

“The project’s lifespan will be about 12 years.”

The 55 per cent was calculated using a US$50 (K171.47) per barrel oil price, according to Kua.

According to the Oil and Gas Act, 55 per cent is made up of a 2% royalty (1998).

Because the resource is offshore, there is no identifiable landowner.

The Gulf provincial government will get the benefits.

“One thing about the 2 per cent royalty is that, unlike existing projects, it’s the net after other deductions, that landowners are given the remaining or nothing at all in a year,” Kua said.

“This won’t happen in this project.

“This 2 per cent will be from the gross production, not net of deductions.”

Other benefits include:

  • 5% production levy from gross revenue;
  • 2% development levy on gross revenue;
  • 15% additional profit tax at 15 per cent accumulated rate;
  • 5%LPG for domestic market obligation; and,
  • 30% corporate tax.

The project's front end engineering design (Feed) should commence in the third quarter of this year, according to Twinza national manager Roppe Uyassi.

“Final investment decision (FID) should be made in the fourth quarter of 2022 with the first production planned for the third quarter of 2025,” he said.

 

Reference:

Mauludu, Shirley. The National (14 July 2021). “Pasca A starting soon after talks”.



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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.”

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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.”

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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.”


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