News Papua New Guinea

PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum welcomes Oil Search-Santos merger

The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has welcomed the successful merger of Santos and Oil Search, two longstanding member companies of the Chamber.

Chamber President, Anthony Smaré, said Santos Managing Director Kevin Gallagher, had told the Chamber’s recent PNG Mining and Petroleum Conference, that Santos intends to build on the historical strengths of Oil Search within PNG.

According to Smare, Santos is already playing a pro-active role in PNG’s economy with a successful listing of the merged entity, valued at more than AUS$20 billion, on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange (PNGx), placing it among the top 20 oil and gas companies globally.

“Rational government policies that encourage private sector investments in petroleum and mining and wholistic benefits to the national economy can reverse a decade-long decline in per capita income/livelihoods and revitalize PNG’s growth prospects,” Mr. Smare said.

In line with discussions with Prime Minister James Marape, Santos has appointed a Papua New Guinean to its board of directors with the appointment of Ok Tedi Mining Ltd Managing Director, Musje Werror.

Santos also promised to support the highly successful Oil Search Foundation, which has improved service delivery at some Provincial Public Health Authorities.

During discussions with Prime Minister Marape, Mr. Gallagher also said there would be no job losses for PNG employees of Oil Search.

Other commitments include efforts to focus on exploration activities with an eye to supporting commercialization and development of PNG resources.

Smare said while Oil Search has had a long and unparalleled history of exploration and development in PNG, the greater depth and capacity created through its merger with Santos could significantly benefit PNG’s energy sector in the medium and longer term.

“Santos has a proven capacity as an important player in Australia’s domestic economy through its Cooper Basin (South Australia) operation and its Western Australian activities. This is in addition to oil and gas interests and LNG production in Northern Australia and in Timor Leste,” he said.

Smare said Santos has become the biggest equity participant in the PNG LNG Project, along with participation in the planned Papua LNG and P’nyang projects, ensuring that Santos would play a pre-eminent role in PNG’s oil and gas sector in the coming years.

“I am sure the PNG Government will be appreciative of the Santos commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040, particularly through carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives. Global warming and climate change is an issue of concern to virtually all Papua New Guineans,” Mr. Smaré noted, while adding that Oil Search Limited had been a strong partner in the Oil and Gas space and had a strong relationship with the Chamber.

Mr. Smaré said this relationship would continue and grow further into the future, with Santos.

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