PNG Government seeks solutions to PNG’s fuel crisis

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-Papua New Guinea acting Prime Minister John Rosso has assured Papua New Guineans, residents and businesses that a short term arrangement has been reached between Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) and PUMA to continue supplying fuel while work is being done to address regulatory requirements of BPNG.

He clarifies that the issue between BPNG and PUMA is not shortage of foreign currency rather it is the regulations that BPNG has which PUMA has agreed to work with BPNG to resolve.

Acting Prime Minister Rosso added that in terms of Foreign Currency reserves, he has been assured by BPNG that PNG have K13 billion (US$3.69 billion) in Foreign reserves in the bank.

Meanwhile, the fuel crisis in the country has forced the government to find short and long-term solutions to address supply monopoly and fuel security.

The government is now in serious discussions with Kumul Petroleum Limited (KPL) and the three multi-national petroleum companies ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies and Santos, together with Mineral Resources Authority, to find solutions to address fuel shortage and supply in the country.

Prime Minister James Marape will announced a major decision soon on an immediate supply of fuel and a long-term solution in the construction of a locally-based refinery for downstream processing to secure the domestic market.

Marape said his government is heading in the direction of downstream processing of its resources but Puma Energy’s actions of recent months have forced the government to act now rather than later in this area.

“Our fuel insecurity due to reliance on one or two suppliers is forcing the government to urgently call on its state-owned enterprises and major oil companies operating in the country to explore solutions to the country’s fuel security, including aviation fuel and general fuel problems,” he said.

“We are leaving no stone unturned.

“What has happened under Puma must not be repeated.

“For far too long, this country has been victimised when, in fact, Papua New Guinea continues to export petroleum and gas to the world year after year.

“The irony is staggering.

“I am, therefore, pleased to note the progress the government is making with our national development partners – ExxonMobil, Total-Energies and Santos.

“Last year, the country was plunged into an acute shortage of fuel when Puma Energy PNG Ltd announced it could no longer source crude oil and finished products because of unresolved foreign currency issues.

“This affected supply of fuel in the country and Air Niugini was forced to ground its flights and left the travelling public stranded for days as a result.

“The matter raised huge concerns on supply monopoly and the country’s fuel security both for short and long-term,” said Marape.

SOURCE: SUNDAY BULLETIN/POST COURIER/PACNEWS