PNG’s Marape highlights country as pro-energy investment as Australian risk-on enthusiasm wanes

Mon 05 Dec 22, 12:51pm (AEST)
Three performers adorning traditional tribal paints perform at a ceremony in PNG at an unknown location and date
Source: Unsplash

Key Points

  • PNG President James Marape has used a conference in Sydney this morning to highlight the country’s friendly stance towards energy investment
  • Announcement comes as Santos loses Federal Court Barossa project overturn appeal bid; ALP to legalise price caps, WA supply uncertain
  • PM Anthony Albanese travels to PNG with his pacific development minister next week to chat with Marape; investment thought to be a large theme

Only days after ASX energy heavyweight Santos Limited (ASX:STO) lost its bid in the Federal Court of Australia to appeal an overturn of its Barossa project, the President of Papua New Guinea James Marape has told a conference in Sydney this morning the country remains friendly to energy projects. 

No shortage of ASX-listed Australian companies have moved to PNG for energy projects in both the recent and distant past (as well as gold and copper miners.)

Santos remains instrumental in the Papua LNG project, as well as another project managed by US supermajor ExxonMobil.

Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries (more or less an informal sister company of FMG) is also assessing the possibility of establishing green hydrogen projects in PNG, though, he’s made inroads into basically every country on earth for the same.

Risk-on enthusiasm in Australia waning 

Alongside the Santos loss, currently topical in the Australian energy market right now is the Albanese government’s decision to introduce what is expected to be a $12/GJ price cap on natural gas before Christmas, according to an ABC report.

The east coast of Australia is more prone to gas price volatility than WA, though, new concerns about WA’s energy security over the coming summer (thought to be a scorcher) have also been raised. 

Large volumes of coal recently sent to WA’s most well known coal fired power plant, located in Collie, may not be able to be used at the facility after all. 

Comments precede Oz PM visit to PNG 

President Marape’s decision to make his comments today at a conference in NSW come ahead of Anthony Albanese’s visit to PNG next week, alongside his pacific development minister Pat Conroy. 

The theme of Australian investment into PNG is expected to define no small part of talks which will be had in typical diplomatic fashion. 

That discussion will also take place only a week after new data from today highlighting Australia’s wholemeal corporate profits have fallen -12.5%

James Marape told the crowd today that PNG remains committed to the rule of law, the proper observance of legally binding international contracts, and that the country’s government proponents recognise the legitimacy of shareholder expectations for returns on investments. 

Marape also highlighted a desire for investors to pursue decarbonisation investments in PNG, including carbon offsets and conservation. Marape described a desire to protect “some” forests. 

A look at Santos Limited's three month charts
A look at Santos Limited's three month charts


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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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