Kua: Oil Search Merger Must Serve National Interests
by PNG Business News - September 13, 2021
Photo Credit: Loop PNG
According to Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua, the proposed merger of Oil Search Limited by Santos must be in the best interests of the country.
While Kua recognizes the significant contribution Oil Search Limited has made to the country, he believes that a merger will result in the company's identity being lost and subsumed under another new business, which will have ramifications.
“The Prime Minister has said that whilst this is a free and open market and because the Oil Search business is based in Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister has emphasised that Papua New Guinea’s national interest must be factored into the merger arrangements.
“Us as ministers we have been instructed to monitor the national interest components and consequences of the merger,” he said.
As a result, Kua stated that they will be closely monitoring the merger to ensure that the good culture that has grown and becomes a daily expectation for Papua New Guineans, particularly landowners, is preserved, maintained, and built upon.
“There’s nothing we can do about the merger process itself as it is a free market and that’s noble business taking its course but any entity resulting from the merger must always remember the Oil Search culture that has been of considerable benefit to the people of Papua New Guinea.
“That contribution that Oil Search use to make must not be lost when you have a new entity from the merger,” he said.
Reference: Yafoi, Melisha. Post-Courier (6 September 2021). “Oil Search Merge Must Serve National Interests, Says Kua”.
PNG Business News - March 29, 2021
Oil Search Operating With Measures
Oil Search claims that stringent quarantine procedures, behaviour restrictions, and personnel roster guidelines put in place last year have secured the company's activities in the region. In a statement, Oil Search said that no cases of Covid-19 had been identified in their field operations. In addition to the number of Covid-19 cases around the world, the organization has increased its efforts to protect its employees and ensure secure and efficient operations. The instituted ways include: The organization is bringing its disaster and emergency response strategies into effect, with staff in PNG and Sydney closely handling and tracking the situation. PNG field sites are continuing to follow precautionary procedures placed in effect last year, which included redeploying non-essential personnel, limiting access and transport to field areas, and putting in place stringent preventative measures and quarantine zones; Imposing further RISK Reduction Steps, such as acquiring further monitoring facilities and expanding the quarantine duration for staff and contractors heading to the field; Reducing the Port Moresby office's workforce to a core community of medical, defence, and facilities workers, with regular checking of office employees; and, Procurement and distribution of nearly 500,000 pieces of personal security equipment to the National Government. Oil Search managing director Dr Keiran Wulff said, “The Covid-19 is a growing threat to the people of Papua New Guinea. “We are doing everything to ensure that our employees can continue to work safely, and to support their families as they do so.”
PNG Business News - March 31, 2021
Oil Search Environmental Management Certified as ISO 14001 Compliant
Oil Search continues to place constructive environmental conservation at the forefront of its activities. To that end, it maintains an efficient environmental protection scheme that complies with the ISO 14001 global standard's specifications. The Company is dedicated to preserving and reducing environmental impact in the communities. Oil Search's oil and gas facilities are located in some of the world's most isolated and environmentally diverse locations. It is critical that its infrastructure and management processes are equipped to handle the threats that its operations pose to the natural environment. Leon Buskens, Oil Search Country Manager said, “This is an outstanding result for Oil Search. The ISO 14001 recertification provides assurance to our shareholders and other stakeholders of our commitment to safe and environmentally responsible operations.” Over the course of five days, an analysis of the Company's Environment Management System (EMS) was performed through the Oil Search PNG Business Unit (BU). The audit looked into Oil Search's environmental inspection results, EMS training logs, and relevant contracts that included clauses requiring vendors to follow the company's environmental policies and procedures. The organization first obtained ISO 14001 certification in 2009 and has retained it for the last ten years. Oil Search is committed to recognizing and mitigating the detrimental effects its activities can have on workers and contractor personnel, local community residents, and the ecosystem as a responsible operator, as well as defining opportunities for quality development and optimizing productive business operations. Oil Search's contributions to water, pollution, biodiversity, land use, food care, education and security, and carbon mitigation are outlined in concrete strategies for Health, Welfare, Environment and Security, Social Responsibility, and Climate Change policies. The company takes a cautious approach to address possibly harmful environmental and social effects on the broader economy and surrounding climate. This entails frequent consultation with communities on how the company's activities can affect them, as well as ensuring that their property, culture, wealth, and rights are safeguarded. Oil Search has set 2021 Key Success Indicators for waste management and greenhouse gas emissions reduction as part of its ongoing pledge to good environmental performance. This involves reducing onsite waste disposal and introducing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures that lead to a GHG level reduction of more than 30% for all managed assets by 2030.
PNG Business News - May 31, 2021
Oil Search Seeking Beneficial Outcome with PPL for 40MW PNG Biomass and Solar Farm
Oil Search confirms that the Company received a letter from PNG Power Limited (PPL) that could significantly impact the PNG Biomass Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which was signed between both companies in December 2015. The Company has analysed the implications of the letter’s unforeseen ‘notice of termination’ and is currently engaging with all key stakeholders including Markham landowners and development partners to assess the potential impact of a cancelled PPA. The PNG Biomass project is aligned with the PNG Government’s ambition to diversify the country’s energy mix and complement the drive to create jobs and long-term opportunities for the people of PNG. The project will provide more than 500 direct jobs and stimulate many more across industries in the region. It also has the potential to make PNG a leader in renewable energy and enhance the country’s reputation globally. “For the power sector and the people of our country, it is important that we find a way forward to bring the project’s lowcost reliable energy onto the Ramu Grid. We intend to work with PPL to find a resolution to move forward together. We are ready to build the power plant and solar farm. We have met all obligations in the PPA under our control in order to reach Financial Close and we have strong funding support from international agencies who recognise the social benefits of this project. We have a dedicated team ready to work with PPL to support them to meet their obligations. We are ready to be part of the power solution and the energy mix and help the country transition to 100% renewable by 2050,” said Leon Buskens, Oil Search Country Manager. PNG Biomass has enormous energy benefits for PNG. It will provide the Ramu grid with up to 40MW of renewable, clean, affordable and reliable energy, from biomass power generation and a solar farm. The project will help stabilise the Ramu Grid and reduce blackouts in Lae. In 2018, Oil Search lowered the project’s power price significantly at the request of PPL. Ever since, the Company has continued to work closely with all stakeholders, including lenders, grant funders and contractors, to ensure an extremely competitive levelised cost of power that will result in material savings to PPL. In the process, Oil Search has attracted grants from the international community to the benefit of PPL worth over USD40 million (K140 million). “This is a compelling project for reliable power generation and creates large financial savings for PPL. Our PNG Biomass project is an excellent example of sustainable development, attracting widespread interest and admiration from the international community. PNG Biomass is truly a world-class sustainable tree farming and energy operation. This is an outstanding opportunity for PNG to showcase what it can do on the global stage,” adds Mr Buskens. The local inclusive economic growth that can be generated with PNG Biomass is substantial. PNG Biomass has already invested K18 million into the communities in the Markham Valley in the form of land rentals, employment, labour, contracts, sponsorships and much more. Mutual trust and confidence with the landowners have been built over more than a decade. The outcome of this partnership is a leading-edge precision tree farming operation and a world class nursery employing state of the art monitoring, measurement and testing. A comprehensive baselined environmental management plan has been developed across all aspects including air and water quality, soils data as well as individual tree growth, leaf analysis and GPS area mapping. The automated seedling production system produces a consistent supply of high-quality fibre cell seedlings and is one of only a handful of such systems worldwide. Specialised planting techniques are employed for deeper soil cultivation, resulting in minimal soil erosion and disturbance. “Hundreds of local communities, including many women and youth, are provided opportunities through our PNG Biomass project. Out of the 500 direct jobs we are creating, there are already 300 landowners and locals working. They are planting over 20 million trees on 16,000 hectares of low production grass land,” said Mr Buskens. Oil Search confirms that the Company is committed to work with the PNG Government to provide sustainable opportunities that directly align with the government’s national development priorities in electrification, energy mix diversification, renewable energy, climate action under the Paris Agreement, reforestation, and sustainable inclusive economic growth. “We have designed this project to be part of powering PNG and empowering our rural communities. We remain optimistic and shovel-ready to deliver,” concludes Mr Buskens.
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PNG Business News - August 12, 2022
Going Green: FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme provides green-powered facility to local agricultural authorities to effectively service rural farmers
EU Funded UN Joint STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea establishes a renewable energy-powered facility to support local government authorities in East Sepik Province, in delivering effective services to rural farmers and entrepreneurs. With generous support of the European Union, the FAO-led EU STREIT Programme officially opened a new 3 cluster office building on 10 August 2022, to host the Programme along with the East Sepik provincial divisions of Agriculture and Livestock, Cocoa Board and the National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority. The new-look office building is powered by 189 solar panels, which significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the collective dependence on fossil fuel. The solar panels supply the building with 90 KW of energy, relieving the resident agencies and authorities from relying on fossil-generated electricity for their needs, including lighting, ICT, water pumping, and temperature control. This zero-carbon-emission facility has the capacity to accommodate around 90 experts, technicians and extension service officers. Equipped with 120 batteries, the building can support staff’s operation for 36 hours in case of experiencing high cloud cover. The building, currently co-resided by the Programme and provincial agricultural bodies, will be transferred over to the East Sepik Provincial Administration at the end of the Programme and will continue to provide a sustainable base for sustainable support to agriculture-related services in the Province. Officiating the opening ceremony, His Excellency Ambassador Jernej Videtič, Head of the European Union Delegation to PNG, in his address, said: “I am happy to be here and to see that things are moving in the right direction to bring sustainable benefits to the people of East Sepik” Ambassador Videtič further highlighted that “with resources from the citizens of Europe to fund the EU-STREIT Programme in providing training, tools and support, the quantity and quality of cocoa, vanilla and fisheries products will increase. The objective is also to protect these quality products in international markets under the EU-STREIT introduced initiative of Geographical Indication.” The East Sepik Acting Deputy Provincial Administrator, Mr James Baloiloi, in his speech expressed his appreciation to the EU for funding the EU-STREIT Programme and the interventions that the Programme is doing in East Sepik and Sandaun provinces. “The STREIT Programme has gone ahead to introduce a culture of agribusiness that now enables the people of this Province and the people of Sandaun Province to have cash income that can sustain their livelihoods.” Mr Baloiloi added, “this infrastructure and building supports us and facilitates the service delivery to our people in this Province as well as Sandaun Province.” Thanking the EU for its generous funding support, Dr Xuebing Sun, the EU-STREIT Programme Coordinator, said: “the Programme has generated substantial impacts at beneficiary, local institutions and enabling business environment levels. This would not be possible with good partnership, increased ownerships and leaderships of the governments and implementing partners.” “This co-residing and close co-operation among UN agencies and their national partners in this integrated space reflect the partnership approach taken by the Programme to sustainably develop agri-enterprise activities in the region,” added Dr Xuebing Sun, adding “the new climate-friendly facility, which is fully powered by solar energy, also provides a space to welcome, advise and serve the farmers, including interested women and youth, who play very important roles along agri-food value chains”. “This kind of ‘green investment’ enables a shift to a more green economy for local institutions and infrastructure to meet cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains stakeholders” advised Anthony Bennett, the FAO Lead Technical Officer of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme. United Nations’ implementing partners supporting the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG present in the office include the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The EU-STREIT PNG is being implemented as a UN Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the Country and the Pacific region. It focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-proof transport and energy infrastructure development.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
CPAPNG annual meet to discuss global changes
Certified Practicing Accountants of Papua New Guinea will be hosting their 23rd annual conference with about 400 participants nationwide expected to attend the two day conference organized by CPA PNG in Lae Morobe Province from August 18 to19, 2022 CPAPNG was established in 1974 and has come a long way with a lot of achievements along the way. Over the years its membership grew from mere numbers to just below 2000 which includes 40% locals and 60% non-citizens. . The CPA PNG conference is one of CPAs three significant annual events on their calendar with this year's conference theme; Is PNG prepared for the recession?" The conference will see certain key leaders in executive management roles from both the public and private sector delivering presentations in line with the conference theme. CPA PNG's Executive Director Mr. Yuwak Tau said the theme of the conference was selected because there was a decline in the global economy and the general so when that eventuates small economies tend to be affected. He added that they have basically selected the theme that was current and appropriate so that members would find relevance during the course of the conference. “The meeting is to create intellectual and interactive discussions with seasoned business leaders to present and share their ideas and experiences to find probable outcomes within their business environment and industries in times of economic uncertainty”. Some of the topics to be presented by consultants are current significant issues such as crypto currency, transport pricing, bit coin block chain technology and stress management. This were some topics that people have heard about but have not really ventured into. Mr. Tau added that it would be quite hard to measure the benefits immediately but the participants will be able to look at insights shared during the conference that would be appropriate in the areas of employment, accounting, finance, auditing and others. The conference will create an environment where participants can also share information so That they can take points to apply in their work place and industries. In relation the Kumul petroleum Holdings had also presented a cheque of K50, 000 to support the coming event at their head office. The cheque was presented by KPHL's executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Luke Liria and was received by CPA PNG Chairman Richard Kuna. Mr. Liria said KPHL has appreciated the effort put in by CPA PNG to ensure that its members in State owned enterprises and the private sector were given appropriate level of training and as part of KPHL's corporate social responsibility and commitment they hope that their support will continue to help the organization facilitate and make sure the accounting practices is of international standards. CPA PNG's Chairman, Richard Kuna acknowledged KPHL for their support and stated that he was looking forward to seeing KPHL being a big part of the upcoming conference.
Paul Oeka - August 12, 2022
BSP: Small to Medium Enterprises Loans reaches 60% rate.
Bank South Pacific's Financial Group Ltd Chief executive officer Mr. Robin Fleming has recently announced that the bank has granted more than K200 million as loans to small to medium enterprises under its credit scheme facility that the then Marape government had released to the bank to support Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) and local businesses during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Fleming said about 1523 customer loans have been approved, that is about 60% of loan approval rates since 2019. Prior to this announcement BSP and the Department of Commerce and Industry (DCI) had agreed to increase the maximum loan under the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) credit enhancement facility to K5 million. The previous limit was K3 million when the Government first released K100 million as security to the bank under its K200 million SME allocation for BSP to rollout the loan facility last year. Fleming stated that even though they have exhausted and rolled out the bulk of the governments relief funds for SME's they will still be running the SME loan program under its credit facility scheme “At this stage, BSP has not received the funding planned for this year but that is not preventing BSP from giving loans under the facility”. “There remains significant capacity for BSP to continue to assess, approve and funds loans under the facility”. “The agreement with the Government did provide for momentum in the SME facility to be maintained while allowing for the Government budget and funding process to be adhered to”. As part of the government SME relief funding, Commercial Banks were allocated K200 million with BSP Financial Group receiving K100 million, NDB K80 million and another K20 million was allocated to the department of Commerce and Industry BSP could not comment on how the National Development Bank (NDB) is dealing with the K80 million it received, but the intent, when discussions were initiated, was that BSP would be lending to more mature SMEs and NDB to startup ventures. In addition to enabling SMEs to access lower cost of funds through the facility with BSP, the bank has also made it a responsibility to ensure that Government funding is preserved by not approving loans that have a higher risk of default.