Tag Archives: James Marape

Govt To Have Dialogue With Mining Industry On Laws

Post Courier | July 2, 2019

Changes or amendments to the current resource laws will not be a shock to the industry, says Prime Minister James Marape.

Mr Marape while responding to the Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat said the government will be engaging with the industry and will advise them on its thoughts and views and will listen to what the industry has to say before making any changes.

He said the Constitution was drafted by the founding fathers of this nation, however, the environment of doing business today has migrated so much away from what it was in the 70s, 80s 90s and early 2000s that is why it is necessary for the change.

“We will be engaging, having a by petition approach in the area of resource laws and finding a balance in not chasing away our investors but getting to ensure that we pick from the resource harvest through the systematic and proper shift in our resource laws,” he said.

“I put to this House in my view that amendments that we make will not be radical and such that will shock the industry.

“We will introduce to the industry what we have in mind and exactly what we have in mind must come forth from the discussions.

“Our discussions must be signaled in a systematic manner to the industry so they know exactly what we are talking about here and in this house I am comforted in having greater experience around me.”

He said the government is not in the business of chasing away miners in the country.

“They are here to partner us but as they partner us, the laws that we have will be the ones that we’ll honour and deal with them.

“But going forward I am in the business of discussing with all likeminded leaders of both sides of the houses, as well as our civil servants and advisors to ensure that we tailor make a new series of law and a constitution and these laws will not differ much or the laws will not differ from the intention of our Constitution,” he said.

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Marape holds Singapore talks over PNG trust fund

Radio New Zealand | 19 June 2019 

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister has led a delegation to Singapore to find a way in to a trust fund the government has been locked out of.

In his first overseas trip since taking office last month, James Marape met with officials from the PNG Sustainable Development Program on Sunday.

The company manages about $US1.4 billion of assets through a long term fund which was set up to hold profits from the Ok Tedi copper mine in Western Province.

Since the government of Peter O’Neill expropriated the mine from the SDP in 2013, it had been in a protracted court fight to gain control of the long-term fund parked in Singapore.

Singapore’s High Court ruled against the government’s claim in April. Following this, and a change in government leadership, PNG’s new prime minister Mr Marape is seeking a different approach.

He said on Facebook the aim of his trip was to find common ground with the company managing the fund.

The prime minister was accompanied by MPs from Western Province whose constituents are intended to be direct beneficiaries of the SDP’s projects and long-term fund.

Mr O’Neill, who indicated that the government would appeal the Singapore court ruling, portrayed the government’s aim in the case as being to ensure the company’s funds were given to the people of Western Province.

It remains to be seen whether that appeal will proceed, with Mr Marape advocating a discourse-based approach to dealing with Sustainable Development Program.

The SDP was established in 2001 when BHP Billiton divested its majority share in the lucrative Ok Tedi copper mine in Western Province to SDP.

The divestment followed legal action by Western Province landowners over extensive and long lasting environmental damage caused by the mine operations, particularly its riverine tailings disposal system.

April’s court decision was welcomed by the four Western MPs, who said it would ensure SDP was protected from political interference and that its assets went to the people.

However, the money in the fund is intended to be disbursed by SDP within Western Province when the Ok Tedi mine closes. The mine is still operational.

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New PNG govt’s resources stand in the spotlight

James Marape the member for Tari Pori is the new prime minister of Papua New Guinea. May 2019 Photo: Post Courier Newspaper

Johnny Blades | Dateline Pacific | Radio New Zealand | 12 June 2019

Papua New Guinea’s new prime minister has stressed that his government is pro-foreign investment.

James Marape’s announcement that he wants to review the laws governing the country’s resources has caused some concern among investors in the sector.

But the move is popular at the grassroots level in PNG.

In his first state of the nation address, James Marape said PNG had not been enjoying the full benefits of the commercialisation of its abundant natural resources.

His government will review the laws governing the oil, gas, mining, fisheries and forestry sectors, which he has described as outdated.

Mr Marape showed his hand by appointing Kerenga Kua, a critic of the previous government’s handling of resource projects, as PNG’s Minister of Petroleum.

The prime minister said they will be looking at the resource sector “in a very big way”.

In April, James Marape and other MPs resigned from the Peter O’Neill-led government after it signed with French company Total for the $US13-billion Papua LNG project in Gulf province.

They cited concerns that local interests were not being served and claimed mandatory requirements were not fulfilled before the agreement was signed

Their stand has resonated with Gulf landowners who baulk at the two percent equity on offer for them.

The Purari Development Association general secretary Roy Daniel Evara says the developer has dictated terms to PNG.

“The agreement itself did not comply to very critical pre-conditions of the Oil and Gas Act, which is the guiding pillar for the industry. An agreement should never dictate to the pillars of the country’s laws. It should only conform and comply with it.”

Mr Marape’s moves are being watched closely by companies deeply involved in PNG’s resource sector such as energy firm Oil Search Ltd, a partner in the Papua project.

While Mr Kua and others have suggested the Project agreement could be reviewed, Oil search’s chief executive Peter Botten said he didn’t expect to make any significant new concessions on the deal.

Mr Botten told a mining convention in Sydney that delays to the deal could jeopardise PNG’s standing in the international LNG market.

Subsequently, Mr Marape bristled at suggestions that he was trying to chase away investors.

He said he made no apologies for his aim of ensuring PNG citizens get greater benefits from the petroleum sector.

Mr Marape knows the struggles of landowners in resource-rich areas well.

His own elecorate of Tari-Pori is in Hela province, where the country’s first LNG gas Project operated by Exxonmobil and Oil Search is centred.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit the region last year causing around 150 deaths and widespread devastation to infrastructure.

Although it has it share of critics, Oil Search was heavily involved in the immediate relief effort.

The man who headed PNG’s response to the disaster, Bill Hamblin, says Oil Search showed itself to be a good corporate citizen in PNG.

Meanwhile, PNG’s Chamber of Mines and Petroleum says it’s waiting on clarity from the new government on its policies and plans in relation to the resource industry.

But it says that stability on fiscal and regulatory regimes is important to ensure ongoing investment in the sector.

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New PNG cabinet puts Oil Search and UBS Australia on notice

PNG PM James Marape unveiled a surprisingly bold cabinet on Friday.

Angus Grigg and Lisa Murray | Australian Financial Review | June 7, 2019

Papua New Guinea’s new Prime Minister, James Marape, has appointed one of the most outspoken critics of a recently signed gas deal as the responsible minister and taken a swipe at Australia’s Oil Search in announcing a cabinet full of surprises on Friday afternoon.

In swearing in Kerenga Kua as the Minister for Petroleum, Mr Marape noted he was a lawyer who “shared his vision” for reforming the sector and maximising gains for PNG.

Mr Kua has previously said the $US14 billion ($20 billion) Papua LNG project, agreed in April, should be reviewed for its legality, potentially opening the way for the deal to be renegotiated.

The new Prime Minister has said he would not seek to unwind existing contracts. However, looking into the legality of this and other deals could be a way to reopen negotiations.

“We will come to a position that everyone is comfortable with without disrupting business,” Mr Kua said when asked about the Papua LNG project after being sworn in.

“But [we will] ensure there is an equitable distribution of benefits which come out of these resource projects.”

Mr Marape used the occasion to take aim at Oil Search chief executive Peter Botten, following a speech Mr Botten made in Sydney on Thursday.

“Peter Botten knows me. I’m investor friendly but I also have to win for the 8 million shareholders of this country,” he said.

Prior to this the Prime Minister said he would not apologise for his comments on getting a better deal for the country out of resource projects.

“If you don’t like the way I’m speaking … pack up and leave,” he said.

This skirmish follows Mr Botten saying that any delay in the Papua LNG project would have it leapfrogged by other projects around the world.

“We can’t wait too long before our place in the queue slips,” Mr Botten said. “The government is aware of this, as is the new Prime Minister.”

ExxonMobil and Total are spearheading the PNG LNG and Papua LNG projects, in partnership with Australian resources players Santos and Oil Search.

Shining a light on corruption

The other surprise move on Friday was the appointment of Bryan Kramer, a popular but outspoken opposition figure, as Police Minister.

Mr Kramer, who has over 117,000 followers on his Facebook page, has said former prime minister Peter O’Neill should face criminal prosecution and has written scathing articles about the UBS loan affair.

He said the deal, which had PNG borrow $1.2 billion from UBS to buy into Oil Search, would “go down as one of the dumbest investments in PNG’s history”.

His appointment should ensure ministerial-level support to further investigate the loan affair, which cost PNG $400 million.

On Friday, Mr Kramer said his main priority was keeping the people of PNG safe but he would also be looking at high-level corruption.

Shane McLeod from the Lowy Institute said Mr Marape had delivered a pointed and substantial shake-up of the ministry.

“Bringing across prominent opposition voices Kerenga Kua and Bryan Kramer – and placing them in key portfolios of Petroleum and Police – shows that Marape is serious about distancing himself from his predecessor, and shining a light on resource deals and allegations of corruption,” he said.

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Papua New Guinea appoints reformer to crucial petroleum portfolio

Kerenga Kua is a former attorney general turned prominent opponent of Marape’s predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

Tom Westbrook | Reuters | June 7, 2019

Commodity and energy companies with projects in the resource-rich archipelago have been awaiting the makeup of Marape’s cabinet as a sign of his plans, after parliament voted him in last week on a platform of economic change.Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape installed a reformer as petroleum minister on Friday, handing him a mandate to overhaul the sector and warning investors to “pack up and leave” if they did not like it.

Announcing his ministries in the capital of Port Moresby, Marape said Petroleum Minister Kerenga Kua – brought in from the opposition – shared his vision for raising more revenue from the resources sector.

“We are tired of being rent collectors,” Marape told reporters at Government House where the cabinet was sworn.

He promised changes “friendly to the investor but also friendlier to our country”.

Marape had sparked months of political chaos when he quit as finance minister over the government’s handling of a big gas agreement struck in April with French oil major Total SA.

He then rode a wave of discontent over that deal, and an earlier one with ExxonMobil Corp, into the top office, triggering a new round of scrambling – this time from commodity firms clamoring to meet and lobby him.

Kua is a former attorney general turned prominent opponent of Marape’s predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

He has been quoted in the media as saying resource laws should be changed to give the state a bigger stake in extractive projects.

“(He is) widely respected and a noted critic of dodgy deals,” said Jonathan Pryke, director of the Pacific Islands program at Sydney think-tank the Lowy Institute.

Nevertheless, Marape has insisted reforms would be slow, unlikely to take effect until well beyond elections due in 2022, and not designed to harm investment.

Peter Botten, the head of PNG-focused energy firm Oil Search Ltd said in Sydney on Thursday he did not expect to make any significant new concessions on a gas deal it and ExxonMobil Corp hope to strike with the government.

Marape, referring to concern among foreign investors, offered both reassurance and a warning.

“I make no apologies to anyone,” Marape said. “You don’t like the way I’m speaking? Pack up and leave.”

“Peter Botten knows me. I am investor friendly. But I have also to win for eight million shareholders of this country and that’s what this generation of leadership is all about.”

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Oil Search CEO says new PNG leader unlikely to demand big concessions on gas deals

Oil Search CEO Peter Botton

* Oil Search CEO confident on Papua LNG, P’nyang deals

* Comments follow PNG PM vowing to raise revenue from resources

Jonathan Barrett | Reuters | 6 June 2019

The head of Papua New Guinea-focused energy firm Oil Search Ltd said he did not expect to make any significant new concessions on a gas deal it and ExxonMobil Corp hope to strike with the South Pacific nation’s new leader.

Commodity and energy firms with projects in the resource-rich archipelago like Oil Search have been closely watching the agenda of Prime Minister James Marape since his election by parliament last week on a platform of economic reform.

A policy speech Marape made on Wednesday offered investors some relief as he said changes would be slow.

Oil Search managing director Peter Botten told the Sydney Mining Club at a lunchtime address that the P’nyang gas agreement, which has yet to be finalised, would resemble a deal already brokered on the Papua LNG project led by Total .

“I don’t envisage there will be any changes to the Papua LNG gas agreement,” Botten said, meaning the P’nyang agreement would be unlikely to see major change either.

“I am confident about that (but) I’m not 100-percent confident because I need to sit down with the government, as does Total as operator.”

Oil Search has previously said it hopes to agree terms for P’nyang this month.

Marape, a former finance minister, has promised he would be “taking back” the economy and revising resource-sector laws after the resignation of his predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

Marape said on Wednesday that he wanted to increase the amount of revenue flowing from resource projects, after years of underwhelming returns most notably from the gargantuan PNG LNG project, run by Exxon in partnership with Oil Search and others.

But changes would be gradual, Marape said, and unlikely to take effect before 2025.

Papua LNG, operated by Total, plans to develop the Elk and Antelope gas fields to feed two new liquefied natural gas processing units, called trains, at the PNG LNG plant.

Oil Search and Exxon also plan to add a third new train at the plant, partly fed by gas from the P’nyang field.

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PM puts ‘Take Back PNG’ on hold until 2025!

James Marape is seen at Government House after arriving to be sworn in as the new prime minister in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, May 30, 2019. Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s Office/Handout via REUTERS

New PM now says no new resource laws until 2025!!!

PNG PM Says Resources Reforms Will Take Years

Tom Westbrook | Reuters | June 5, 2019,

New Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape doubled down on his plans to earn more taxes from the gas-and-gold-rich country’s natural resources sector on Wednesday, but said major reform would not take effect for years.

That will come as a relief for oil giants such as France’s Total SA and ExxonMobil Corp which have done deals and were wondering if Marape would put them up for review.

Marape, a former finance minister, had the firms on notice last week when he was elected and promised he would be “taking back” the economy after the resignation of his predecessor, Peter O’Neill.

In an address broadcast around the rugby-league loving archipelago as thousands tuned in for the State of Origin match, a big derby in Australia screening afterwards, he promised to review resource laws in a “very, very big way,” but not quickly.

“While I’m speaking on natural resources, many of our corporate citizens amidst us will feel a little bit doubtful or will feel a little bit intimidated, will feel a little bit insecure,” he said.

“But you must not feel that way … I’m looking at 2025 in which we will migrate to a new legislative framework.”

Marape had sparked months of political chaos in the South Pacific archipelago when he quit as finance minister over the government’s handling of a gas agreement struck in April with French oil major Total SA.

He rode a wave of discontent over that deal, and an earlier one with ExxonMobil Corp, into the top office, triggering a new round of scrambling – this time from commodity firms clamoring to meet and lobby him.

Mark Bristow, chief executive of the world’s second-biggest gold producer, Canada-listed Barrick Gold Corp, traveled to the capital, Port Moresby, to negotiate an extension to a large mining lease expiring in August.

Barrick and China’s Zijin Mining each owns 47.5 percent of the highlands’ Porgera mine, which Barrick said has paid 4.2 billion kina ($1.2 billion) in taxes and royalties since it began operations in 1990.

Oil Search Ltd, a partner in Exxon and Total’s multibillion dollar liquefied natural gas developments, has scheduled a meeting for next week, a spokesman said.

Marape’s remarks imply, as Total has said it expects, that April’s contract will be honored, but the changes he again forecast envisage a tougher approach in future.

“(I’ll be) looking to ensure that the oil and gas sector is beneficial to our country as well as our investors,” Marape said.

“We’ll be looking at the mining sector to ensure that our gains … are growing.”

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