In brief: Due diligence starts on Santos/Search merger


Santos and Oil Search potential merger advances, Twinza Oil wants Pandora gas fields license announced before the Pasca A agreement, and funding for Pacific fisheries. PNG business news in brief.

The new Nasfund Kimbe branch provide four counters to serve members in a more spacious environment. Credit: Nasfund


Nasfund has opened a new branch in Kimbe Town at Hamamas Plaza. Nasfund’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Tarutia, said that the opening of the branch is a ‘testament of our commitment to our growing membership in West New Britain Province.’ (Nasfund)


Former Acting Chairman of the Securities Commission and Registrar of Companies, Alex Tongayu, has been sentenced to three years in jail by the Waigani National Court after being found guilty of two counts of forgery. (Post-Courier)

Mining and petroleum

The Tolukuma Gold Mine in Central Province has drawn the attention of the local mining company Lole Mining Limited. This comes after the arrangement with the Tolukuma Corporation Ltd didn’t work because of COVID-19. The Managing Director of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), Jerry Garry, said that the MRA will review the potential arrangement. He said: ‘The current mining lease 104 will expire on August 28, 2022. However, either the liquidator or the new company if given the ok can apply for an extension based on how their findings of how much and how long they can mine.’ (Post-Courier)


Twinza Oil has made reference to the Pandora gas fields in Gulf Province. Twinza applied for the Petroleum Retention License in 2018 for these fields and is asking the government to announce the Pandora license ahead of the signing of the Pasca A Gas Agreement, according to Post-Courier. Twinza has said that the Pandora gas fields would align with Pasca A and would need to be included in the FEED process if the license award is made ‘around the time of the Pasca A Gas Agreement signing.’ (Twinza Oil)

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Oil Search operations Source: Oil Search

The due diligence process on the revised proposal for the proposed merger of Oil Search and Santos has commenced and it’s expected to take four weeks. The deal is worth K52.87 billion; Oil Search shareholders would own 38.5 per cent of the merged group and Santos shareholders would own 61.5 per cent. Oil Search said that ‘there is no certainty that the revised proposal will result in transaction,’ and added it would update its shareholders and the market in due course. (Oil Search)


Ratings agency Fitch Ratings has issued neutral assessment of the merger, ‘with the benefits from greater scale offset by increased exposure to non-Australian production, a lower proportion of consumer price-linked contracted domestic revenues, and a significant expansion of investments.’

‘Fitch expects the merger to result in synergies, which would support cash flows while investments are made.’ (Fitch Ratings)


The Brian Bell Group of Companies and Total E&P PNG have partnered to establish a fuel service station in Boroko. It’s been reported that Brian Bell is undertaking construction and Total will operate the site. Cameron Mackellar, CEO of Brian Bell, said that the ‘site will be completed and operational in 2022.’ (Post-Courier)



A five year, NZ$14million (K34.4 million) funding package from the New Zealand Government to support Pacific Community (SPC) programmes for improved food security, livelihoods, and economic and environmental resilience in the Pacific was also announced during the recent Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting. (FFA)

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