Puma Energy plans $US220 million refinery upgrade in Papua New Guinea


Puma Energy, which acquired the downstream assets of InterOil Corporation in Papua New Guinea in the the middle of 2014, is planning a major US$220 million upgrade of its Napa Napa refinery outside Port Moresby. According to a senior Puma executive, the upgrade will facilitate not only more reliable domestic supplies of petroleum  products, but exports.

Puma pic

Puma Energy’s executives. From left: Patrick Meyer (Head of Corporate Affairs), Rob Jones (COO, Asia-Pacific), Peter Diezmann (GM), Hulala Tokome (Business Support Manager)

Robert Jones, Puma’s Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific and Middle East, visiting PNG yesterday, said that company planned to create a more modern and flexible refinery at Napa Napa, capable of processing all PNG’s domestic crude oil and condensate (currently sourced from the Kutubu oil fields), as well as imported crude from other markets.

He said that the additional processed condensate would then be sold back into the local market, or exported to markets such as Australia, Indonesia and the Pacific islands, effectively making PNG an oil trading hub for the region.

Increased capacity

Subject to approvals, the Napa Napa upgrade would involve a 68% increase in current production capacity (from 25,000 to 42,000 barrels a day), the installation of an additional 10 megawatts of electricity production, the building of additional storage facilities for crude and refined oil, and the upgrading of the site’s two jetties.

‘We’re positive about the future prospects for Papua New Guinea, with it’s geographical position between both Asia and Australia and the US and Asia,’ said Jones, who told Business Advantage PNG that current estimates put the cost of the upgrade at US$220 million over two years.

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The investment is part of a major overhaul and expansion of planned by the multinational company in PNG, which also includes the rollout of additional fuel retail sites, new storage facilities and rebranding of existing retail sites acquired from InterOil. The rebranding rollout is expected to be complete by March 2015.

‘We’re still working on the remainder of our investment plan for PNG, but the overall dollar figure will be significant,’ said Jones.

Relationship with InterOil

At present, InterOil is providing some back office support to Puma as part of the handover process. Puma Energy’s General Manager Peter Diezmann confirmed this arrangement was only temporary and was expected to end in February or March 2015.

With InterOil having a continued presence in PNG as an upstream explorer and potential developer of the Elk-Antelope gas field, a customer-supplier relationship will be ongoing between the two companies, with Puma Energy managing InterOil’s fuel supplies.

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