4th Papua New Guinea Energy Summit and Exhibition paints a promising future
by PNG Business News - September 21, 2022
Photo: Rupert Bray Managing Director steamships Moderator, Jean- Marc Norway Managing Director Total Energies PNG Limited, Stephen Quantrill Executive Chairman Twinza, Wayne Kasou Senior Vice President PNG stakeholder Management Santos, Peter Larden Managing Director Chairman ExxonMobil PNG Limited.
The fourth Papua New Guinea Energy Summit and Exhibition commenced on the 20th of September 2022 at the Hilton Hotel and will end on the 22nd of September.
The theme of the summit is "A New Dawn for PNG's Energy Sector Development." The host sponsor for the Summit is Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited, whose Managing Director Wapu Sonk gave the opening remarks.
Mr. Sonk stated that PNG is blessed with both renewable and non-renewable resources and that the proper development of these will underpin national development for many years to come.
Representing the government, Minister for Petroleum and Energy Hon.Kerenga Kua, in his keynote address, stated that PNG is an exporter of liquefied natural gas. This, in the long run, will prepare the country for the future to be viable when there will be customers for PNG's green energy export.
Mr. Kua also elaborated that getting electricity to remote areas is not easy given the topography of the country, and PNG's electrification reach is poor compared to other countries.
Major players in the energy industry, including the National Energy Authority (the regulatory body of the state), gave their presentations as well to help potential investors in the country work cohesively with different stakeholders, in line with the government's policy and existing national content plan.
Existing energy developers and partners such as ExxonMobil PNG, Santos, MRDC, Twinza Oil, High Arctic Energy, and Chiyoda also gave detailed presentations.
One of the key areas highlighted by all of them is that they are looking forward to advancing in community initiative projects, including sports, education, health, carbon emissions projects, and utilizing technology that will enhance green energy in the future.
Besides the energy developers, Vodafone PNG was present as well for a presentation on the use of telecommunication as a major player in the energy industry in terms of technology while working remotely in the terrains of Papua New Guinea.
A total of 30 exhibitors were enlisted for the exhibition, including:
- Aspen Medical
- AG Energy Limited
- American Chamber of Commerce
- ANZ Bank Limited- PNG
- Atlas Steel PNG
- ExxonMobil PNG Limited
- High Arctic Energy Services PNG Limited
- JX Nipping Oil and Gas Exploration Corp- Japan
- Kina Bank
- Kumul Petroleum
- Monier Limited
- MTIS Group (Asia Pacific)
- NACAP PNG Limited
- National Energy Authority
- Nambawan Super
- Pacific International Hospital
- Pacific MMI Insurance Limited
- PNG Business News
- PNG Internal Revenue Commission
- RTI International- PNG Electrification Partnership
- Santos Limited
- Thai Benkan Company Limited
- Total E&P PNG Limited
- Touchstone NDT Limited
- Twinza Oil
- Vodafone Papua New Guinea
PNG Business News - April 29, 2021
Parliament Passes Energy Bill
The National Energy Authority Bill, 2020 was passed by the National Parliament with an overwhelming majority of 73 to 0. The National Energy Authority Bill was created to control renewable and non-renewable energy production, storage, delivery, and retailing. The Act will also cover the following functions: Governing the oil market by overseeing the implementation and implementation of rules, legislation, and policies. Levies, fines, tariffs, and other charges are received and collected. Responsibilities for energy research and development in order to put energy policy and legislation into practice The aim of the Act Administer the National Electrification System is to approve the corporate policies of subsidiary corporations and affiliates Administrate the National Electrification Trust Funds The Bill for an Act to Reform the Electricity Industry Act 2020 was also passed. The National Energy Authority 2020 and the Electricity Industry Act Amendment Bill 2020, according to Minister for Energy and Rural Infrastructure Saki Soloma, are the culmination of the work undertaken so far in restructuring the energy market. He said that the passed Act of Parliament would create energy and electricity industry legislation for the energy sector in general. According to him, the National Energy Authority Bill 2020 establishes a robust and equitable legislative framework, with fines imposed on those that violate the Act and regulations. He went on to say that the Electricity Industry Act (Amendment Bill) contained consequential changes to the Electricity Industry Act, allowing the National Energy Authority Act, which was passed by Parliament, to go into effect right away. The National Energy Authority Bill 2020 is based on the same model used for the establishment of stationary authorities such as the National Fisheries Authority, National Information and Communication Technology Authority, and others, according to the explanatory notice. It specifies that the National Energy Authority is a policy and regulatory agency, not a commercial institution, as stated in the Act. PNG Power Limited will no longer be an economic or technological authority and the NEA will conduct the licensing and technical functions that were formerly handled by PNG Power Limited.
PNG Business News - May 04, 2021
Australia Supports Electrification for PNG
The Australian government has decided to contribute $US90 million (K315 million) to the Marape government's top-priority Edevu Transmission and Electrification program. The Edevu hydropower plant, which is based in Sogeri, is part of the Papua New Guinea Electrification Partnership, which seeks to reach 70 per cent electrification across the country by 2030 with the support of Australia, the United States, New Zealand, and Japan. Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey praised the announcement, calling it a major step forward for the Marape government's electrification efforts. “With only 13 per cent of the nation connected to power, this is a very important and ambitious project,” he said. “We know that the original announcement was made at the APEC meeting. This was a good announcement. But it is one thing to make big announcements and cut ribbons. “Support from our international friends and allies is critical, and I am grateful that Australia, through the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, is coming to the party.” Ling-Stuckey stated that the discovery would be on favourable terms, with a $US18 million grant portion (K65 million). The money will be on-loaned to PNG Power Ltd, pending NEC clearance. The Edevu project would have the required infrastructure to link modern hydropower generation to the Port Moresby Grid, allowing diesel generation to be replaced at a lower cost and with less environmental impact. It will also allow for the upgrade of substations to improve grid stability. PPL will now be able to purchase and mount smart meters in consumer premises as part of the funding. Taxes, duties, levies, and fees on supplies, utilities, and facilities available for the project would be exempted as part of the Marape government's contribution.
PNG Business News - March 11, 2021
Puma Energy Concerned About Shortage of Forex
Puma Energy PNG Ltd is concerned about a shortage of foreign currency (forex) to import crude oil in a timely manner, according to country manager and director Hulala Tokome. The business paid for its crude supplies when forex was available on the market, he said. Tokome added that the availability of forex had influenced the crude oil purchase schedule, also commenting on oil prices, citing Platts as a source. According to Tokome, oil prices for February have been steadily rising. Platts is a source of benchmark price assessments in the physical energy markets and a provider of energy and metal knowledge. “Hence, we will have an increase in prices for March as the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) pricing structure is based on Mean of Platts (MOP) Singapore prices for the prior month,” Tokome said. “There is a one month lag on pricing effect. “All eyes will be on the Opec (Organisation of petroleum exporting countries) meeting. Their decision to increase crude oil production or not will determine which direction prices will go. There is strong market optimism around global demand returning on the back of vaccine rollouts.” Many countries have begun to announce plans to phase out lockdowns, he said, and the warmer weather could help support demand. “With this, prices should continue to trend upwards,” Tokome said. Brent rates are currently at US$64/bbl (K220.95/barrel of oil), according to Tokome.
Paul Oeka - September 29, 2022
AGRICULTURE HAS HUGE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Photo credit: Oxford Business Group The creation of the new ministries by the current government for both major agricultural commodities, Coffee and Oil Palm is a huge step forward in achieving the agriculture sectors economic potential. For the past years the agricultural sector had not been fully utilized by consecutive governments as the focus had mostly been centered on the extractive industry and Mining & Petroleum sector. This important and vital sector is eventually and currently being recognized as an economic pillar to boost the state coffers. Prime Minister Hon. James Marape said the allocation and restructure of the four newly created ministries concentrating on Horticulture (Fresh produce), Coffee, Oil Palm, and Livestock to the agricultural sector is a complete paradigm shift to get agriculture moving again. The focus of the Marape Government on ‘Taking Back PNG’ is deeply rooted and aligned with the mechanisms and functions of the agricultural sector as most of the country’s population are situated in rural settings and largely depend on subsistence agriculture to sustain themselves. Coffee, Cocoa, Oil palm and Fresh produce have been a mainstay that this rural population rely on for income for so many years. As far as many Papua new Guineans can recall and relate, Agriculture has always been the foundation and backbone of the country and it can surely drive the economy forward. Although the agricultural does not match in monetary turnovers for the country, it is an economic foundation and is here to stay. In comparison over monetary benefits with other sectors, Agriculture had not been performing to expectation due to so many underlying issues concerned and faced with the value chain of agricultural commodities prompting a decline in agricultural activities over the years. The Prime Minister said it was no secret that agriculture had declined since independence in 1975, and the current allocation of the four agricultural ministries was to revive the sector for it to be a major income generator for PNG. PM Marape said this when explaining the concept and rationale for his allocation of four ministries to the agricultural sector. This direction by the Marape/Rosso Government to emphasize more on agriculture will boost agricultural activities in and around the country. Mostly the sector had not been given proper recognition for decades and had been lacking government intervention from past successive governments. Now with the current Government’s backing, the respective agricultural ministries and its industries are expected to flourish dramatically and are likely to bring more benefits. The new ministries will also empower provinces that currently do not have mining and petroleum resources. This will certainly build stronger local economic activities for future generations. “We want to see import replacement and more exports within the agriculture sector, which is why we have allocated four separate ministries to agriculture,” PM Marape said. The recognition of this agricultural industries will also ease and slowdown rural-urban drift. The number of people migrating from rural areas into towns and cities in search for better opportunities have risen in the past couple of years due to inequality in the distribution of wealth and lack of government services. Thus, the governments focus on agriculture will encourage many unemployed Papua New Guineans living in urban areas to go back to their home Provinces or villages and be self-reliant. As economic opportunities arise in rural areas from vibrant and innovative policy interventions within these newly created agricultural ministries, it will attract many to contribute meaningfully and be productive on their own customary land. Prime Minister Marape said over the last three years prior to the creation of the new agricultural ministries, his government has given millions of kina to support agriculture through price and freight subsidies and SME support. “We are now targeting specific commodities through the establishment of the four ministries. Over the next term of government, we will give specific production targets for Coffee, Oil Palm and all other major agricultural Commodities” he said. The government also plans to revive and rehabilitate once thriving agricultural hubs in the country such as Cattle farming in the Central Province and the Coffee plantations of the Highlands region that produced quality organic Coffee and grew the fledgling industry pre-independence in the 1960’s. Now that the agricultural sector has been categorized into four industries, there will be room for much improvement in economic activity within the agricultural sector as people will start contributing meaningfully to the economy.
Paul Oeka - September 28, 2022
TREASURER WANTS REVIEW OF ELECTION FUNDS
Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey is dismayed at how the 2022 National Elections were conducted and is now looking forward to a complete review of the allocated funds that were spent on the elections. Ling-Stuckey recently stated in parliament that the government had allocated and funded enough money for the election process to be conducted this year. “We provided a further K50 million to cover the costs for the 2022 election, bringing the total funding for the election to nearly double the level of expenditure in the 2017 national elections. There was enough money to support a much better election this year, so I look forward to the proposed parliamentary committee examinations of what went wrong and what can be done better” he said. The Treasurer also expressed concern that there was a decrease in the public servants’ salaries. He explained that “Once again there is a salary cost overrun. This is K201 million much lower than in previous years, and out of this, over 70 percent is related to teacher wage overruns. We contributed to bring this area under control. After no pay increases during the latest part of the Covid-19 crisis, it is now time to start increasing some salary payments”. “There is also the need to provide additional funding for the seven new districts that have been created and K3 million each has been provided. There are also new members in existing electorates, and it is appropriate that they be given some funds for commencing programs through to the end of the year. For equity reasons all districts and provinces needed to benefit the same so an additional 2 million per district and province have been allocated bringing the funding back to 10 million per districts and provinces” he said. Meanwhile there was an announcement on Thursday last week that the Department of personnel management, Treasury and Finance are working together to ensure that there will be a three percent pay increment in the salary of public servants. This pay increment is to be adjusted and effective by December this year, the welcoming news for public servants was confirmed by the Secretary of the Department of Personnel Management, Taies Sansan.
PNG Business News - September 28, 2022
PNG’s minimum wage
Commentary by Stephen Howes, Kingtau Mambon and Kelly Samof The urban minimum wage has been an important part of Papua New Guinea’s economic history. In the last few years before independence (in 1975), it was greatly increased. In the decade or so after independence, it was widely regarded as too high. In 1992, it was slashed, merged with the rural minimum, and hardly increased again for more than a decade. We can compare the minimum wage in PNG today with other Asia and Pacific developing countries using International Labour Organization (ILO) data. As Figure 1 shows, PNG’s minimum wage is 18% below the average of the 19 countries shown if the market exchange rate is used to compare minimum wages. It is 37% below the average if differences in cost of living are also taken into account (with conversions made on the basis not of market exchange rates but so-called purchasing power parities or PPPs). The greater difference in terms of PPPs reflects PNG’s relatively high cost of living. Of the countries shown, only Samoa and Kiribati have a lower minimum wage than PNG when a PPP comparison is made. This is very different to the past. Raymond Goodman, Charles Lepani and David Morawetz in their 1985 report The economy of Papua New Guinea compared minimum wages in PNG with a subset of the countries above back in 1978. Then, the PNG minimum wage was about twice as big or more than the other comparators. Today (using market exchange rates, and the earlier authors do), PNG comes in the middle of the pack, as Figure 2 shows. So far, we have shown that around the time of independence minimum wages were very high in PNG by international standards, and that they no longer are. Figure 3 shows how this change came about – also, for interest, comparing trends in PNG with those in Australia. Both the PNG and Australian weekly minimum wages are shown in Figure 3 measured in Australian dollars. The PNG minimum wage is converted into Australian dollars using the current exchange rate. Both wages are then adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2021 prices. The two series follow diametrically opposed paths. The Australian minimum wage fell with the high inflation of the 1970s and industrial relations reforms of the 1980s, and by the early 1990s was little more than half its value in the 1970s. It then increased in the late 1990s and 2000s during the resource boom, and has continued to increase. Adjusting for inflation, it is now almost back to where it was in the early 1970s. The PNG minimum wage does the opposite. It increased in the 1970s and was then held stable due to indexation, until the big bang reforms of 1992. Adjusted for inflation, PNG’s minimum wage continued to fall until 2004. There have since been some significant increases, but today PNG’s minimum wage is only about one-third of its value at independence, and below its value even in 1972, which is when the steep minimum wage increases began. The Australian minimum wage has always been significantly higher than the PNG one, but the ratio has changed a lot over time. The lowest that ratio has ever been is 2.2 in 1986, the highest 45 in 2004. The gap between the two wages is much higher now than at independence: the ratio of the Australian to the PNG minimum wage was 14.5 in 2021, compared to only 3.2 at independence (1975). This reflects PNG’s 1992 deregulation, and the faster growth in the Australian economy, which has enabled an increase in the Australian minimum wage. The solution to low wages in PNG is not necessarily to increase the minimum. In some sectors, where there is a lot of international competition, a higher minimum wage might lead to job losses. For example, in tuna processing, one of PNG’s main competitors is the Philippines. From Figure 1, we can see that PNG’s minimum wage is lower than the Philippines' on the basis of PPPs, but actually higher on the basis of market exchange rates. While the former is what matters for the welfare of workers, the latter is what matters for international competitiveness. Whether PNG’s minimum wage should be increased will require a lot more analysis. The point of this blog is simply that PNG’s minimum wage does not look high any more by international comparisons, as it has fallen a lot since independence. PNG is often described as a high-cost economy, and this is a fair description. However, with regards to unskilled labour, it is no longer a high-wage economy. Data note: The PNG Economic Database provides the weekly minimum wage of PNG going back to 1972, and the PGK-AUD exchange rate. Wikipedia provides the Australian weekly minimum wage data (hourly and weekly, on the assumption of a 38-hour week) starting from 1966. The Australian CPI is from the Australian aid tracker. There are some years where Australian minimum wage rates change more than once in a year. For such cases, we took the average as annual minimum wage rate. The data for Asia-Pacific comparisons are from the International Labour Organization and the World Bank. The different frequencies of minimum wages for each country in 2019 in the ILO’s report are adjusted to convert to weekly rates. World Bank data is used to obtain market exchange rates and PPP conversion factors. For the Goodman, et al., data go to Table 3.6 on p.61 in their report.\ Disclosure: This research was undertaken with the support of the ANU-UPNG Partnership, an initiative of the PNG-Australia Partnership, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The views are those of the authors only. This article appeared first on Devpolicy Blog (devpolicy.org), from the Development Policy Centre at The Australian National University. Stephen Howes is Director of the Development Policy Centre and Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy, at The Australian National University. Kingtau Mambon is currently undertaking a Master of International and Development Economics at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, for which he was awarded a scholarship through the ANU-UPNG Partnership. Kelly Samof is a lecturer in economics at the School of Business and Public Policy, University of Papua New Guinea.