In brief: COVID-19 surge in Papua New Guinea and other business stories


A surge of COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea, Oil Search posts major loss and the NEC endorses the National Energy Authority Bill 2020. The midweek business news, curated for you by Business Advantage PNG.

Mayur’s projects in PNG. Credit: Mayur Resources


Fifty-nine confirmed COVID cases were reported on Friday and another eight were reported over the weekend, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in PNG to 1056. Forty-seven cases were found in Western Province, nine in West Sepik and three in the NCD.

PNG COVID-19 Controller David Manning, who has tested positive for COVID along with two other members of his family, said that the pandemic is ‘far from over’.

‘I urge everyone to go to your nearest health centre and get tested,’ Manning said. (RNZ)


The National Executive Committee has endorsed the National Energy Authority Bill 2020, which is set to play a key part in PNG’s economic development and industrialisation. Cabinet also approved K5 million to be allocated to the Energy Wing of the Department of Petroleum and Energy to help to establish the National Energy Authority. (Post-Courier)

Mining and petroleum

Despite record production from the PNG LNG project, PNG’s largest company, Oil Search Limited, has posted a US$320.7 million (K1.125 billion) loss for the 2020 financial year. This follows a US$312.4 (K1.1 billion) profit the year before.

‘The financial results reflect significantly lower realised hydrocarbon prices in 2020 compared to 2019,’ explained a company statement, which also identified the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘demand collapse’ as factors in the result.

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‘Whilst we are encouraged by the recovery in the oil price over the last few months, particularly given our strong cash flow and earnings leverage to higher prices, the company remains focused on maintaining discipline in both our capital management and in cost control across our operations,’ said Managing Director Dr Kieran Wulff. (Oil Search)


Wulff also noted the ‘accelerated’ progress made towards the Papua LNG project this year.

‘The Papua LNG joint venture has been offered a second five-year extension of its Petroleum Retention Licence (PRL 15), to progress the project to the Final Investment Decision (FID). This is a clear demonstration of the increasing alignment between the PNG Government and the Papua LNG joint venture. It marks a significant milestone for the project as the Papua LNG Operator, Total, targets entering the Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase in 2022.’


Mineral exploration and energy company Mayur Resources Ltd has requested a voluntary and immediate suspension of the company’s securities until the release of an announcement about their copper and gold assets which is expected on 25 February. (Mayur Resources)


Kina Haus in downtown Port Moresby Credit: Kina Bank

A partnership with Kina Bank has given bmobile customers access to Konnect, Kina’s mobile banking service. Bmobile customers can register for Konnect at their Kina branch and then check their account balances and statements, transfer money and buy Easipay credits using their phone. (The National)


PNG Ports Corporation and the Ihu Special Economic Zone have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to work in partnership in management investments for the design and development of the ISEZ port, which will be located at Orokolo Bay. (ISEZ)


The music streaming service Spotify will launch its services in 85 new markets, including PNG. For listeners, this is an opportunity to get the music and podcasts they want directly to their laptops, phones or wearables, but for creators this is an opportunity to get their content to Spotify’s 340 million active users.

Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu complete the list of new markets in the Pacific. (Yahoo! Finance)

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