Tag Archives: Sam Basil

Papua New Guinea treasurer calls for more benefits from LNG, mining projects

Sonali Paul | Reuters | June 26, 2019

Papua New Guinea’s new treasurer on Wednesday put Total SA, Exxon Mobil Corp , Newcrest Mining and their partners on notice that the country wants to extract more benefits from their gas and mining projects.

Treasurer Sam Basil said the country also needs better forecasts from Exxon and Total on the expected income flow from a $13 billion plan to double the country’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Basil was appointed earlier this month by Prime Minister James Marape, who led a revolt against former prime minister Peter O’Neill in May.

France’s Total is leading the Papua LNG project, which will develop the Elk-Antelope gas fields to feed two new LNG production units to be sited at the PNG LNG plant, run by Exxon.

At the same time, Exxon and its partners plan to add a third new unit at PNG LNG, which will partly be fed by another new field, P’nyang.

Total recently reached an agreement with the government setting terms for its Papua LNG project, while Exxon is in the process of negotiating a separate agreement with the government for P’nyang.

Treasurer Basil said the projects should all be treated as one, rather than “under the cloak of separate joint ventures”.

“I am putting each of the project partners in all of these projects on notice that the concerns of our people must be addressed through dialogue and negotiations with the state and that we expect all parties to contribute to a fair and equitable outcome,” he said.

Exxon’s original $19 billion PNG LNG project is the biggest foreign investment in the country and crucial to the economy, but the plant has been a disappointing contributor since it started exporting LNG in 2014.

Last year’s earthquake which forced a shutdown of PNG LNG dented the government’s take from the project more than Exxon had expected it would. The 2019 budget had assumed that oil and gas sector revenue would fall by 9.4 pct from 2018, but it actually fell by 16.4 percent, Basil said.

He plans to ask the Treasury and Exxon to come up with new detailed forecasts of future cash flows from the project to the national and provincial governments and local landowners.

He also said the government would put on hold talks with the owners of the Wafi Golpu gold project, Newcrest and South Africa’s Harmony Gold, until the state negotiating team has talked to the Morobe provincial government about its aspirations for the project.

“Our future prosperity depends on delivering these projects and delivering them well. But we must now find a way to ensure that these major resource project agreements capture enough value to the state and to our people,” he said.

Exxon and Total were not immediately available to comment. Newcrest had no immediate comment.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

Energy Minister On Mayur Bandwagon

Gorethy Kenneth | Post Courier | March 22, 2019

Energy Minister Sam Basil says promoting clean coal in PNG is the way to go now because it will be the cheapest electricity supply for households.
Mr Basil addressing the media in Port Moresby, voiced support for Mayur Resources in the pretext of providing energy mix in PNG, saying it was time PNG promoted clean coal as a definite mixture and possibly cheap energy to help especially rural PNG.
“In a few weeks time, early April, the signing will happen, we will be looking at power generation and during presentations this week we have heard different companies talking about shipping gas, producing gas, processing gas, running power stations and talking about big mines that will be coming into production soon, and they require power, and it’s a very exciting time for PNG because those investments will improve the economy of PNG and of course improve the life of so many people,” Mr Basil said.
“Like I said before, we do have high voltage lines crisscrossing the nation and people are still asking for power, so investing into different kind of mixes also helps PNG not to suffer when disaster strikes…look at the recent earthquake, gas stopped supplying for three months, if we provide mixes, we are covered so if more than 50 per cent of our population rely on one type of energy we will have a problem.
“For example, hydro, when drought hits, we are affected.
“There are many opportunities available and one of them we didn’t talk about during the conference is the way to power and opportunities are there.
“We do have wind and good locations and of course, we got big deposits of coal in the Gulf.
“All we want is to bring the cost of power down, it’s got to be reliable and it’s got to be cheap and this is what we want in Papua New Guinea.”

Basil not ashamed to push for coal energy

Peter Esila | The National aka The Loggers Times | March 22, 2019
ENERGY Minister Sam Basil says he is not ashamed to talk about coal being used to drive industrialisation in Papua New Guinea.
“I am not ashamed to talk about all types and forms of energy, clean coal being part of it,” he said.
Basil was flanked by Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta and Mayur Resources managing director Paul Mulder. Mayur wants to build a coal power plant in Lae. The coal will be mined in Gulf.
Basil said Australia and Indonesia both had over 70 per cent of their power mixes from coal.
“Here we are, in a tiny, small nation, talking about clean energy while we allow those two big neighbours to smoke the atmosphere for us and our forest are being used as carbon sink,” he said.
“In a few weeks’ time, first week of April, the signing will happen.
“PNG must not be fools in their own country while other countries are using activists to drive anti-coal campaigns,”
Haiveta said the commercialisation of Gulf coal would happen.
He said coal was a base-load power while other energy sources like solar, hydro and wind fluctuated.
“Coal has been the mainstay of the industrial revolution,” Haiveta said.
“What is the big hiccup? We need Papua New Guineans to have free power. If we are the landowners, give us free power.”
Mulder said the project would create jobs for local people.
“We have a nation that has 13 per cent electrification,” he said. “We have got a huge number of people who want jobs. They want manufacturing. When producing this power, we can use clean coal technology.”

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

PNG politicians push coal as Pacific islanders rail against climate change

 Catherine Wilson | Mongabay | 12 March 2019

  • Politicians in Papua New Guinea have thrown their support behind a plan to power the country’s development through coal.
  • The plan to establish coal mines and power plants gained prominence following a publicity tour hosted by rugby stars and sponsored by Australian mining and energy firm Mayur.
  • Mayur’s proposal for a project combining coal, solar and biomass energy remains stalled, pending approval by the country’s newly restructured energy utility.
  • The project faces opposition both locally and in other Pacific island states, where climate change-driven sea level rises pose a serious threat.

Politicians in Papua New Guinea are ratcheting up their support for a new foray into coal mining and power generation, even as neighboring states call for a global reduction in carbon emissions to stave off a catastrophic rise in the sea level.

PNG’s mining minister, Johnson Tuke, recently hailed the prospect of a new coal industry to boost government revenue and public access to electricity, following visits to coal mines and power stations in Australia. PNG has no coal mines or coal-fired power plants; in Australia, 60 percent of grid electricity comes from burning coal.

But the burning of coal is one of the largest contributors to human-driven climate change, setting PNG up on a collision course with smaller Pacific island states, such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, where rising sea levels threaten coastal communities and undermine water and food security. Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum — which comprises 18 states, including PNG, Australia, Kiribati and Tuvalu, among others — emphasized during their annual summit in Nauru last year that “climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.”

“This move by the PNG government is a total negation of the plight that the small island states in the Pacific are facing due to the negative impacts of climate change,” says Tafue Lusama, a climate change activist and leader of the Tuvalu Christian Church. “For one of our own brother countries in the Pacific to turn its back on our struggles is [an issue] that needs serious pleading and dialogue.”

A young boy looks at the mud, contaminated by salt water, that used to be a garden on Iangain Island in Papua New Guinea. Pacific Island leaders have identified sea level rise as one of the primary threats facing the region. Image © Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert.

Australian extractive and energy company Mayur Resources has plans to construct a mixed coal power station in the eastern PNG port city of Lae, in the province of Morobe. Mayur, which has a major stake in coal exploration in neighboring Gulf province, signed a memorandum of agreement last October with the Lae city authority and the Morobe government to build an “Enviro Energy Park.” The project, which aims to use solar energy, coal and renewable biomass sourced within the country to generate electricity, has received environmental approval and is backed by Mining Minister Tuke, Energy Minister Sam Basil, and Lae MP John Rosso.

Mayur says coal is needed to help provide cheap, reliable electricity, and will help boost living standards and economic growth.

“We, as a 100 percent PNG industrial minerals and energy-focused business, are passionate about injecting all forms of energy that are cheaper and better environmentally than what PNG currently has, that also generates local industry and displaces imported energy fuels, such as heavy fuel oils and diesel, that drain PNG’s wealth,” Paul Mulder, Mayur Resources’ managing director, tells Mongabay.

Although the country produces and exports natural gas, refined and crude petroleum accounted for 11.2 percent of PNG’s total imports in 2017, costing the country nearly $400 million.

“If PNG ever wants to get to Australia’s level of prosperity, it will need to install 20,000 megawatts,” Mulder says. “PNG is not even managing 100 megawatts being installed per year. PNG political leaders have to somehow explain that it will take PNG 200 years from today to achieve the same living standard as Australia. This does not even cater for the huge population growth over the next two centuries which PNG will have… I am sure there is not one politician, not one business owner or one resident who wants to wait that long.”

Rain clouds in the mountains along the coast south of Lae. Image © Markus Mauthe / Greenpeace

PNG has one of the world’s lowest electrification rates: only about 13 percent of its people have access to mains electricity. Rugged forest-covered mountain ranges and scattered islands make grid-based power distribution a logistical challenge. This lack of access to electricity, widespread in rural areas where more than 80 percent of the country’s 8.2 million people live, contributes to the country’s low human development; an estimated 40 percent of people live below the poverty line.

Nevertheless, the PNG government is yet to issue any coal mining licenses and the proposed Enviro Energy Park remains in limbo without a power purchasing contract.

Mayur was invited by state-owned PNG Power Ltd. to submit a proposal in 2015, but the proposal has yet to be assessed by the power company’s board. PNG Power underwent a major restructuring in 2018, and with the new management came new priorities. In February, PNG Power’s acting managing director, Carolyn Blacklock, told the Post Courier newspaper that the utility now plans to increase the use of renewable energy without coal, and that a competitive, public bidding process will be required before any new projects are commissioned.

“It is not a planned activity of PNG Power and is not being considered,’ Blacklock said of Mayur’s 2015 proposal.

“Mayur has been waiting three years since its PPA [power purchasing agreement] submission,” Mulder said. “It could have already built the two 30 MW units of power generation on the Western Tidal Basin in Lae, providing businesses with extremely cheap steam and generating very reliable power with solar, coal and biomass that would already be saving PNG Power tens of millions of kina.”

Pita Meanke leans against a palm tree as high waves surge past a sea wall and into his family’s property in Betio Village on Kirabati’s Tarawa Island. PNG’s push for coal power has raised opposition from other Pacific island countries who fear inundation due to rising sea levels. Image © Greenpeace / Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert

There could be changes in the country’s power industry with a new National Energy Bill currently being finalized. If passed, this would mandate a National Energy Authority to enforce safety and quality standards in the industry, encourage more power companies to operate, and increase competitive electricity pricing.

But there is still opposition from civil society, even after Mayur arranged for Australian rugby legends Sam Thaiday and Darren Lockyer (who is employed as the company’s business affairs manager), to visit PNG earlier this year and talk up the coal industry. Local environmental group Nogat Coal PNG and landowners in Morobe province’s Markham Valley, the site of a potential biomass energy project, say coal has no place in the country.

The Australian-backed case for coal faces wider opposition. Many leaders across the Pacific view the developed nation’s refusal to transition away from coal and reduce its carbon emissions — which reached a record high of nearly 530 million tonnes in March last year — as contributing to their potential demise due to climate change.

“As I always say in my advocacy works around the globe, and especially to big industrialized countries, your actions and decisions now will catch up with you sooner than later,” Lusama says. “For what we are facing today will only accelerate according to such ignorant decisions, and by the time you feel the wrath of the devastating impacts of climate change, it will be far too late to do anything.”

The mouth of the Bairaman River, where it meets the sea in East New Britain province. Image © Paul Hilton/Greenpeace

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Pacific region, Papua New Guinea

Govt not learning from experience

Freddy Gigmai | Post Courier | February 8, 2019

The current government along with its responsible agencies are still not learning from the damaging experiences of mining activities in the country.

The experiences of Panguna, Ok Tedi, Tolukuma, and others are all there for the responsible authorities to learn and do things properly. The environmental pollution and damages caused by these mines have exceeded the monetary and other benefits put together.

The evidence are overwhelming but the government is still somewhat ignorant thus placing short term revenue gains ahead of long term gains and sustainability and dependence of our small people on the natural resources such as river systems, forests, seas, etc.

The recent MoU signed by the O’Neill government with the developers of the multi-billion kina Wafi-Golpu mining project in Morobe province is another clear indication that it does not care about the local peoples welfare and long term survival.

The Morobe Governor and Huon Gulf MP Ross Seymour with the concerned landowners must be commended for voicing their concerns against the signed MoU.

The MoU is rushed and is sinister because there is no clear indication of the where the mine tailings will be properly stored and disposed. At present, it is apparent that the tailings will no doubt be dumped into the sea on the Morobe coast. The environmental damages that the tailings disposal pose are unimaginable.

Although Bulolo MP and Energy Minister Sam Basil and former Morobe Governor Kelly Naru have said that the MoU is only a guide to pave the way forward, the concerns of the Morobe people and leaders who will be directly affected must be respected and considered.

It is very surprising to see the minister responsible for mining and Kainantu MP Johnson Tuke silent on this very important issue.

Also on a close look of the electoral boundaries, eighty percent of the Wafi-Golpu project is in the Huon Gulf electorate and not in Bulolo-Wau so

Basil’s heavy involvement and not Ross Seymour as the Huon Gulf MP with Governor Saonu is a concern as well.

The natural resources and assets of this country must not be taken for a ride by a few privileged individuals. The MPs are voted into parliament to make decisions in the best interest of the people as their first priority and not for themselves and the developers who after all are short terms profit-oriented visitors who only care to bring the best returns to their shareholders only.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

K400M Lae Coal Plant In Jeopardy

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | February 7, 2019

THE proposed K400 million coal-fired power plant to be built in Lae is in jeopardy as PNG Power Limited is not considering the power option put forward by developer Mayur Resources.

PPL acting managing director Carolyn Blacklock, when responding to questions posed by the Post-Courier in regards to the power purchasing agreement sent by Mayur to PPL and how the PPL is handling the proposal at present, said PNG Power is not considering the Mayur proposal.

This means the bid to have the coal power plant in Lae is in limbo since the PPA approval will grant Mayur the green light to go ahead with the project construction phase.

Ms Blacklock said PNG Power has a clear IPP Policy that supports competitive bidding of planned generation, transmission and distribution investments.

“It is not a planned activity of PNG Power and is not being considered,” she said.

Mayur managing director Paul Mulder said PNG Power is under obligation to assess the power purchasing agreement (PPA).

“The PPL board has the obligation to assess our bid and make recommendations this year,” he said.

Energy minister Sam Basil had earlier written to PPL board chairman Peter Nupiri in October to request PPL board to assess Mayur’s proposal since their bid was solicited by PNG Power through a letter by Chris Bais (PPL director strategic planning and business development) in 2015, granting Mayur leave to send a PPA proposal for assessment.

Mayur Resources submitted a proposal that is still yet to be assessed by the PPL board.

This now contradicts Ms Blacklock’s response since according to Mr Basil’s letter, until the review of Mayur’s proposal is assessed, then he will accept the PPL’s board decision.

The coal power plant in Lae is to be spearheaded by Mayur Resources Limited and is expected to utilise coal seams extracted from the seas of Gulf province and is anticipated to generate revenue for Lae City Authority and the Morobe provincial government.

Mr Basil, Lae MP John Rosso and Morobe governor Ginson Saonu have backed the proposed project to be built in Lae .

It is expected to generate K4m annually to the provincial coffers, among other benefit

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Coal Power not a Favorable Option

Stret Pasin:  Good news but I hope she has locked in her support as she will come in for attack from the coal proponents and their cronies. They will try to get rid of her if she does not follow their line.

Adelaide Kari | EMTV | February 5, 2019

Mayur Resource when speaking to EMTV News stated that they had submitted a Power Purchase Agreement proposal to PNG Power and was confident they had tick all the boxes.

Today, PNG Power Acting Managing Director, Carolyn Blacklock, commenting on the proposal of coal, said the company is looking towards renewable energy.

PNG Power confirmed they had received the Power purchase agreement for Mayur Resources but were not confident that the proposal showed a commitment that would last 25 years.

Blacklock also stated that PNG Power was looking more towards hydro and solar, and coal power would not be a part of PPL Plan.

The Minister for Energy, Sam Basil, an open supporter of the Coal Power station, has publicly said the ball was now in PNG Power’s corner. With PNG Power weary of the idea of a coal power station, what does this mean for Mayur’s prospect of a coal power station?

But the prospect of a Coal Power station may still be pushed with the National Energy Bill that is currently being drafted, exact specifics of this touted National Energy Bill have not been given out to the public just yet. The Minister for Energy, Sam Basil, stated it will allow other energy companies, provincial governments and landowners to enter into agreements to supply energy without approval from the State-owned PNG Power.

Northern Governor, Gary Juffa, who has openly gone against the idea of coal mining in PNG, says the National Energy Bill needs to be structured properly, and should be based on renewable energy. Governor Juffa stated that the bill will allow provincial government to create revenue and is a positive to the bill.

The argument for cheaper vs cleaner energy has become the source of a debate that will continue until the National Energy Bill is tabled in Parliament, and even that information, is still unclear.

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Rugby League stars’ promotion of coal in PNG questioned

Brisbane and Queensland rugby league player Sam Thaiday. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Radio New Zealand | 23 January 2019 

Questions have been raised in Papua New Guinea over the visit by Australian rugby league stars to promote coal development in the country.

The Australian company Mayur Resources has an environmental permit to mine coal in PNG’s Gulf Province, and is proposing a coal-fired power plant in Lae.

It’s recently deployed a second former league star, Sam Thaiday, to PNG in a promotional capacity.

Former Australian captain Darren Lockyer is Mayur’s head of Business Affairs.

Christian Lohberger of Nogat Coal PNG, which opposes Mayur’s plans, said the league stars, and Lockyer in particular, are idolised in PNG.

“Even though they’re just footballers, when they talk and say stuff, people listen. So I guess it’s a smart move by Mayur to bring them on board. But I don’t know if it’s really ethical that they should be using Papua New Guineans’ love of rugby league to promote something that’s not really connected.”

Mr Lohberger said that the proposed plant would create significant pollution and cause harm and death to local communities.

However, PNG’s Minister for Energy Sam Basil is supporting the coal project, saying it would open up access to cheaper energy that has long been lacking in the country.

Mr Basil has voiced concern that the current power plant in Lae uses imported heavy fuel oil and is cost inefficient.

He said that PNG should explore as many local energy options as possible, given the country’s range of natural resources.

However the plant backers have not secured a local customer or off-taker for the power produced at the plant.

The main power supplier in the country, PNG Power, has been reluctant to buy electricity from coal sources.

Mr Lohberger said he understood PNG Power was waiting on a pending World Bank report on a comprehensive electricity generation cost strategy, which could affect a decision on linking up with Mayur’s plant.

“I would say with the way global trends are going, the surge in renewable energy, and the fall in prices of solar and wind and hydro, that any report that takes a look at power prices is not going to be favourable to coal,” he explained.

But global shifts away from investment in fossil fuels, due to pressing climate change issues, are not deterring the minister who has cited PNG’s neighbours’ energy policies.

Mr Basil said that with both Australia and Indonesia heavily reliant on coal power, PNG should not deprive itself of a home-grown asset.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea