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Energy

Having a local presence and a team who understands the local environment and cares about Papua New Guinea’s future progress while respecting the country’s deep culture and history, is important. To maximise the opportunities in PNG, you need a local team with global experience.

With lawyers in every major energy market across the world, we are one of the only firms in PNG that can support domestic and international stakeholders in the energy sector, including international energy companies,  government entities, contractors, suppliers, developers, financial investors, lenders and other market participants.

Clients in the energy sector benefit from our experience across the entire energy value chain from upstream oil & gas, LNG, downstream, power, renewables, and water to sustainability, corporate social responsibility and climate change. It is our ability to field  an integrated global team with in-country expertise for cross border deals, global benchmarking and best practice standards, solutions-based transaction delivery that makes our offering to clients unique. We can deliver effective legal solutions to complex issues and risks faced by any energy industry participant from international energy companies to the public sector as well as customary land owners and PNG communities.

In Asia Pacific, we advise participants in the energy sector through integrated multi-disciplinary teams, including project development,  finance, mergers and acquisitions, construction, real estate, disputes, tax, environment and safety lawyers to deliver innovative solutions in a challenging market.   We are committed to the transformation of the energy sector across all of the Pacific Islands. From self-sustaining disaster relief solutions, sustainable agriculture and solar green houses to large scale wind, solar and hydro solutions and everything in between, we support our clients implementing projects that are driving change in the Pacific.

The market: PNG is rich in natural resources and is uniquely placed geographically to capitalise on the continuing growth of the Asia Pacific energy markets. The country’s progression over recent years has led to significantly increased levels of international investment. PNG is already an LNG exporting nation and the capacity will be soon expanded. New international and domestic players are entering the oil and gas exploration and production sector. PNG has abundant untapped hydrological resources and the country’s strategic plans include several large scale hydropower plants which provide electricity to meet growing local demand and could form the backbone for a regional integrated system PNG’s target of 70% of the population having access to electricity by 2030 will require a tripling of electricity supply and new technological solutions to meet this demand, particularly in isolated and remote rural areas.   We expect renewable energy and micro girds will play a key part in meeting these goals and ensuring a sustainable and resilient future for PNG. With the dynamic mix of renewable energy sources in PNG and the developments in remote community energy access and reliability, there is vast potential to harness new energy generation and storage technology. Using technologies such as solar PV, micro-hydro and biomass to power rural communities, and looking at new and evolving storage and microgrid solutions, will enable PNG to showcase new models for access to electricity solutions.  

The below is an illustrative list of the projects and transactions that our lawyers have advised on relating to PNG. Prior to opening our office in Port Moresby, this work was undertaken with local counsel advising on PNG law aspects.

Our areas of work include

  • Upstream oil and gas
  • LNG
  • Oilfield services
  • Downstream
  • Power
  • Renewable energy
  • Water
  • Sustainability, corporate social responsibility and climate change.

Our recent work

  • Advising the PNG Government on the procurement of the 180MW Ramu 2 run-of-the-river-hydro-generation plant to be constructed on the Ramu river downstream from the existing Yonki Dam hydro complex in north-eastern PNG. This project involves advising the government on all stages of the project from the market sounding stage up until financial close. Ramu 2 is part of the PNG Government’s ‘Development Strategic Plan 2010 – 2030’ and upon completion the $2 billion project will increase the country’s electricity generation capacity by 36%.
  • Advising on a range of deals for New Guinea Energy Limited (NGE) such as the sale of its 50% interest in Petroleum Prospecting License 269, an area of 8,995km in the western province of PNG, to Santos Limited. We advised NGE in connection with a private placement of shares to Quantum Partners LP, a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management LLC. The $20 million raised pursuant to the placement of shares will provide NGE with additional working capital to fund its continuing petroleum exploration activities in PNG. We advised on its farm-out of interests in petroleum prospecting licenses to Talisman Energy, which included various staged options for further interests acquisition linked with cost carry arrangements on future work programs. We also advised on the agreement with a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil and Oil Search PNG Limited regarding petroleum assets in PNG, including a royalty arrangement.
  • Advising the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in relation to its AU$1.24bn financing from UBS for the purpose of its acquisition of a significant equity interest in Oil Search, and in the Elk Antelope gas field being developed by Total.
  • Advising an Asian-based company in connection with various strategies for its proposed entry into the upstream and LNG industries in PNG.
  • Advising an international oil company in connection with its proposed debt and equity financing for the development of crude, condensate and gas assets in PNG. This includes a condensate-led small-scale LNG project. We also advised the company on its proposed offtake or marketing of production from these invested assets and tolling of third party volumes.  
  • Advising an exploration focused company in connection with various potential farm-in and other upstream acquisition opportunities in several countries across Asia, including farm-in and cost-carry exploration transactions in PNG.  
  • Advising National Petroleum Company of Papua New Guinea on its establishment, initial structuring and financing requirements.
  • Advising the PNG Government on its participation in PNG LNG through the Exxon Mobil consortium up to the signing of the Gas Agreement and also in the financial close process. The Exxon Mobil consortium is developing and commercialising various gas assets in PNG.
  • Advising a Japanese petroleum company on an upstream investment in PNG.
  • Advising Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (the Australian export credit agency) in relation to its $350 million participation in the Exxon Mobil PNG LNG project.
  • Advising Larus Energy, a company holding upstream interests in Papua New Guinea and Australia, on its IPO to the Australian Stock Exchange.  
  • Advising Daewoo International on its bid for the 30MWW duel fuel Port Moresby power project in PNG.
  • Advising a consortium led by an international oil and gas company on a proposal to produce, process, transport and sell gas and associated liquids from PNG, to customers in PNG and Queensland, by the construction and operation of production and transportation facilities. We also advised in relation to exploration and marketing activities as well as all licensing, tenure issues, native title issues, upstream and downstream anti-trust issues and foundation customer supply arrangements.
  • Advising a US/Indonesian firm of project consultants/construction managers in the preparation and presentation of a claims analysis to a contractor involved in the installation of a gas injection pipeline and crude oil flow line in the Lae Moran (Highlands Highway) development project in PNG.
  • Advising an Asian-based company on its bid to acquire an interest in certain petroleum licences from Talisman Energy.
  • Advising an Asian-based company in concluding a fully termed sale and purchase agreement for the long term purchase of LNG from Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas Global Company, the marketing company formed by the sponsors of the ExxonMobil operated PNG LNG Project.
  • Advising Papua Petroleum Limited on the sale of its 51% joint venture interest in certain PNG gas exploration licences to Talisman Energy (Canada).
  • Advising a prospective bidder in connection with the strategic investment process for participation in the InterOil-led PNG Gulf LNG project.
  • Advising ship owners in respect of time charter tenders for the PNG Gulf LNG project.
  • Advising the State of Papua New Guinea during 2013 and 2014 on the development of a new Geothermal Act and supporting regulations.
  • Advising the PNG Government on a major legislative program to restructure and improve the management of state owned enterprises including the key entities holding its mineral interests and its petroleum and gas interests. This restructure has involved the preparation of Bills for 3 new Acts to 3 restructured entities as follows: Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited, which will hold the PNG State oil and gas assets and interest; Kumul Minerals Holdings Limited, which will hold the PNG State mineral assets and interest; Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited which will hold other State Owned Enterprises including PNG Ports, PNG Power, Telikom PNG and Water PNG.  
  • Advising Kulim (Malaysia) Berhad on its sale of its majority interest in New Britain Palm Oil, one of the largest producers of sustainable palm oil in the world,  to Sime Darby. The transaction valued New Britain Palm Oil at US$1.7bn. New Britain Palm Oil Limited is incorporated in PNG and listed on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange and on the London Stock Exchange. It is the world’s largest producer of sustainable palm oil with plantations in PNG and the Solomons. It is also PNG’s largest beef and sugar producer and has operations in the UK.
  • Advising IDBI Bank Limited, DIFC Branch, Dubai in connection with US$30 million trade finance and working capital for Essar Projects (PNG) Limited, a Papua New Guinea subsidiary of Essar (Projects) Limited which is carrying out construction and civil engineering works for captive airport at Komo to be used for the transportation of heavy equipment and manpower for the PNG LNG project.

Awards & recognition

  • Top tier Climate Change - Global-wide, Chambers Global 2017
  • Top tier Projects & Energy: Oil & Gas - Global-wide, Chambers Global 2017
  • Top tier Projects & Energy: Mining & Minerals - Global-wide, Chambers Global 2017