In brief: Gas from PNG LNG plant to feed the Port Moresby grid in early 2019, and other business stories

New Port Moresby power plant to be online during early 2019, US equity firm bids A$13.5 billion for Santos, and PNG Post keen to diversify. Your weekly digest of the latest business news.

NiuPower’s Richard Robinson.

Electricity generated by gas from the PNG LNG project is expected to be part of the Port Moresby power grid by the first quarter of next year, says NiuPower CEO, Richard Robinson. He told the PNG Petroleum and Energy Summit that work on the Port Moresby gas power station is well advanced. He said the 58 megawatt station will cost about K325.4 million.

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US private equity firm, Harbour Energy, has made its fourth takeover bid for Santos, offering A$13.5 billion cash. The A$6.50 a share proposal is almost 43 per cent higher than Harbour’s original A$4.55 a share approach last August. Saul Kavonic, Principal Analyst, Wood Mackenzie, told Business Advantage PNG: ‘The prize LNG asset is the stake in PNG LNG, followed by Gladstone LNG (Queensland) and the ageing Darwin LNG plant. An acquirer of Santos would have a strong platform from which to make further acquisitions and pursue organic upstream and marketing and trading growth across the global LNG sector.’

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PNG Post is keen to diversify its core business, Chairman Maxwell Paiya has told The National. He said Post PNG would be leveraging its considerable real estate portfolio nationwide, in alignment with commercial opportunities. Post PNG has also teamed up with BSP and Western Union to transfer money internationally.

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A month after the shutdown of its Central Processing Facility (CPF) at Kutubu following the February 26 earthquake, Oil Search says operations and oil production has resumed at a number of Kutubu oil field wells at an initial rate of approximately 4000 barrels of oil per day.

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PNG Power acting Managing Director, Carolyn Blacklock, says the national government has secured more than K1 billion to fund the transmission lines expansion project from Mount Hagen in Western Highlands Province to Tari in Hela Province.

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Nasfund CEO, Ian Tarutia, reportedly says all Papua New Guineans should be allowed to contribute to superannuation—and the government ought to pass legislation to allow for that. He claims the law should remove the filter that currently requires any employer with 15 or more people to make compulsory contributions, arguing that anyone who is earning some form of income, and who pays tax to the Internal Revenue Commission, should be contributing to their superannuation.

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The National Development Bank Managing Director Moses Liu says that while times are looking tough, the government’s aim to create 500,000 SMEs by 2030 can still be accomplished. Liu told The Post-Courier the government’s renewed focus on stimulating economic growth, as detailed in the Alotau Accord II, and apparent in the 2018 National Budget through the allocation of K100 million to the NDB, could make the target achievable.

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Rabbie Namaliu. Source: Kina Securities

POMSoX listed investment company Kina Asset Management Ltd (KAML) has recorded an investment gain of 16.8 per cent for the year ending December 31, 2017. The total value of the fund increased by K6.2 million after allowing for the beneficial impact of a depreciating Kina against the Australian dollar over the year, according to KAML Chairman Sir Rabbie Namaliu.

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The newly upgraded Kikori Airport in Gulf Province has been unofficially opened with the first official fixed wing flight taking place last week. The opening was fast-tracked for earthquake relief efforts in parts of West and East Kikori LLG areas. The airport will be officially opened next week.

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The Huon Gulf district expects to plant oil palms in Wampar after acquiring 12,000 hectares of land. MP Ross Seymour told The National migration has led to the sprouting of unplanned settlements that create social ills. He said the oil palm project will bring employment opportunities to locals as well as benefit the government in taxes and shares.

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Photograph of the week

Port Moresby’s Adventure Park animal keeper Farapo Sare, of Gulf Province, is Papua New Guinea’s Crocodile Dundee. Sare is the only person who can ride a crocodile like a horse, and kiss a crocodile like a wallaby. Sare has spent 35 years working with the reptiles. Although Sare cannot speak, he has his own ways of speaking to the crocodiles and they communicate very well during times of feeding and during shows. Credit: Post Courier

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