Boardroom briefing: Papua LNG tech, investment law reform, new airport lounges and cybercrime


Papua LNG may be at the forefront of artificial intelligence use in Papua New Guinea, China’s proposed new foreign investment laws mirror PNG’s, premium pay-per-entry airport lounges, and cybercrime. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

A drone from Total’s METIS research project in PNG. Credit: Total/RPS

Delegates at last week’s PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit in Port Moresby were treated to a video on Total’s METIS project—pioneering research that uses drones and biodegradable sensors to conduct seismic surveys in difficult terrain.

METIS might be the tip of the tech iceberg for Total’s Papua LNG project. Is artificial intelligence (AI) next?

Total’s Patrick Pouyanne Source: APEC

Quite possibly, if Total’s global CEO Patrick Pouyanné has his way.

‘Due to its activities requiring the use of huge amounts of geophysical data processed by supercomputers, Total has a culture conducive to boarding the AI train quickly,’ says Monsieur Pouyanné in a recent LinkedIn article.

Total has plans to assign an AI personal assistant to its geoscience engineers as part of a machine learning deal with Google. It has also set up a digital innovation centre in India to look at its refining processes, which Pouyanné has dubbed ‘Refinery 4.0’.

‘We shall let the machines do what they do better than us: manage and analyze data, propose options, and devise solutions,’ he says.

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Keep your CV handy, however.

‘Women and men stay at the heart of the production process, ready to make the decisions that cannot be automated.’


China mirroring PNG’s foreign investment laws?

As Papua New Guinea mulls over its foreign investment laws, it’s interesting to note that China is doing the same thing.

China received record foreign direct investment in 2017, with around 950,000 foreign companies now registered in the country. The new laws, still in development, encourage more investment, especially in high value investments such as technology.

PNG’s Peter O’Neill with China’s Xi Jinping

As this neat summary on the expected changes notes, the new laws are partly a response to the recent trade issues with the US.

PNG investors will be interested to note that a negative list of prohibited activities is likely to be a feature of the new laws.

Given recent counterfeit goods seized in PNG, it should be hoped that China’s negative list doesn’t include blilums and SP beer!


Premium pay-per-entry lounge to open in Melbourne and Sydney

Airport lounge access is a great travel perk and for business travellers it can really help productivity on the road.

It used to be reserved for those with annual memberships or travelling in business class, but that’s all changing.

The House Lounge in Melbourne

If you are travelling internationally from Brisbane you can already take advantage of the attractive Plaza Premium Lounge, with its decent buffet, comfy chairs and tranquil environment (costs vary but members of the global Priority Pass lounge network pay just USD$27 per entry).

While Sydney and Melbourne’s international terminals already have similar options, the UK-based House brand is opening up a more upmarket version.

A la carte dining, premium beverages and barista coffee are some of the benefits for guests.

It’s not cheap at $80 per person for pre-booking and $90 on the door, but it’s certainly a lot cheaper than business class.


Held to ransom

The recent spate of ransomware attacks in PNG suggests that cybersecurity is becoming a big issue.

The last thing you want to see.

Ransomware allows criminals to access your computer and lock up critical data on it (your financial data, for instance). The crims then demand a cash ransom to restore the data to you.

A related criminal activity is credential stuffing, whereby criminals use stolen account credentials such as usernames and email addresses to try and hack into your systems—or threaten to hack into them, unless you pay them off.

There were reportedly 115 million credit stuffing incidents per day last year, according to Akamai, with online retailers the most targeted group.

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