Papua New Guinea offers oil, gas investment incentives

Papua New Guinea is ready to support foreign investment in its oil and gas industry, a senior official told executives from leading Japanese firms Oct. 16.

Oct 18th, 2007

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 18 -- Papua New Guinea is ready to support foreign investment in its oil and gas industry, a senior official told executives from leading Japanese firms Oct. 16.

"The government stands to support foreign investment, including Japanese investment, by providing regulation, incentives, policy directions, and leadership to ensure [that] development goals, visions, and missions are achieved," said Commerce and Industry Minister Gabriel Kapris.

"We have a common ground to start business discussion," he said. "Just as you need our raw materials, we need your skills, knowledge, and capital to build downstream industries."

He said Papua New Guinea has been experiencing unprecedented growth in employment and business in the private sector, along with a budget surplus, low inflation, stable currency, and high export commodity prices, especially in its oil and gas sector.

The Japanese delegation included executives from Japan Bank of International Cooperation, Nippon Oil Exploration Co., Itochu Corp., JCG Corp., Cosmo Oil Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and LNG Japan Corp.

PNG Ambassador to Japan Michael Maue said the visiting Japanese are seeking to establish contact with the country's political leadership and discuss issues on gas investment.

Earlier this month, the Japanese government agency Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National (Jogmec) said it planned to spend ¥760 million buying a stake in Block PPL190, onshore Papua New Guinea. Jogmec plans to acquire a 30% share of Murray Oil—a joint venture of Inpex, Japan Petroleum Exploration, and Japan Energy—which owns 26.5% of the block. Murray's partners are Oil Search 62.6% and Cue Energy 10.9%.

Last month, Austral Pacific Energy Ltd., Wellington, NZ, said it would begin appraisal work later this year on Stanley gas field in Papua New Guinea after winning a 5-year extension to its Petroleum Retention License (PRL) 4. Austral Pacific, operator, holds a 28.92% interest in PRL 4. Its partners include InterOil Corp. 43.13% and Horizon Oil Ltd. 27.95%.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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