OIL Search managing director Peter Botten has pointed to Papua New Guinea’s stable fiscal regime as fostering investment in the country, highlighting that it provided more certainty than Australia for resources companies looking to spend capital on new projects.
Mr Botten, speaking at the PNG biannual mining and investment conference in Sydney yesterday, told the 1350 delegates at the event that although PNG was a challenging place with risks, there were huge opportunities if a company “got it right”.
He said the country was in “unprecedented” boom times, with a stable fiscal regime compared with the likes of Australia and Britain , a situation which had aided investment decisions in the region.
The experienced PNG operator said although the country was enjoying a resources boom, he also had experienced the difficult years in the region.
“It is nice to live in the sun for a little while but it is important we don’t forget the bad times,” he said. Oil Search is PNG’s largest oil and gas producer and operates all of the country’s producing oil and gas fields.
It is also a 29 per cent joint-venture partner in the major PNG liquefied natural gas project, which project manager ExxonMobil revealed last month had been hit with a 21 per cent cost blowout from the previously advised $US19 billion ($18.26bn) figure.
Mr Botten said that 20 years ago it had been almost impossible to get funding to support a PNG project because of the level of risk applied to the country, but this was no longer the case thanks to the political stability.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill opened the conference yesterday, saying in his address that the country was working on improving its infrastructure and stamping out corruption, which would make it a more attractive place to do business.
Militant activity at an end here, says RAMSI chief
THE head of RAMSI says the militant activity that prompted its deployment is clearly at an end.The Australian-led regional assistance mission came here in 2003, following several years of civil unrest on Guadalcanal.
RAMSI’s Special Coordinator Nicholas Coppel said although the mission will continue with its focus on strengthening the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, it is the right time for the withdrawal of soldiers.
He said Solomon Islanders share that sense of security about their future.
“I think that’s true.
“I mean there’s a distinction between militancy and law and order issues and militancy has clearly come to an end.
“So the presence of the strong force, the military force, isn’t needed to combat the militancy that we saw before.
“There are still issues in relation to law and order and that’s one of the reasons why RAMSI’s participating police force is going to remain in Solomon Islands for a number of years to come,” Mr Coppel told Radio New Zealand International.
He said whether to rearm the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force is a decision for the Solomon Islands government.
Meanwhile, the Australian Federal Police Specialist Response Group (SRG) is providing the Participating Police Force (PPF) with highly trained tactical police capability.
And the Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services Chris Laore on Thursday visited RAMSI base at Henderson to inspect its facilities and to see first-hand a demonstration.
The PFF Commander Paul Osborne said the types of security capabilities that the PPF regularly provides in support of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and its operations in Honiara and the provinces are of the highest standard.
Specialist Response Group provides the PPF with the ability to deliver a wide range of capabilities in support of the RSIPF.
These include public order management, search and rescue, disaster response, tactical intelligence, trained police negotiators, maritime policing functions and tactical operations in high risk situations.
Osborne stated that the SRG also provided certain high tech equipment that is superior to and unequally by any other police or military unit that operates here. http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/16601-no-more-militancy
New format for Vanuatu super league
Amicale are three-time National Super League champions (photo courtesy OFC).
Oceania Football: Dec. 3, 2012 – The National Super League (NSL) in Vanuatu is set to undergo a revamp following approval for a new format during the 22nd congress of the Vanuatu Football Association recently.
For the past three years the competition has been organised by Port Vila Football Association, with five of its top teams participating.However, following much discussion, a new format was decided upon which will see two groups, a Northern Region and a Southern Region, playing a round robin. }VFF president Lambert Maltock says the NSL will follow the format for the foreseeable future.
“Congress has approved three top clubs from Port Vila FA, one from Tafea FA and one from Shefa FA to compete in the Southern Region competition,” Maltock says.
“In the Northern Region there will be five clubs representing each of the five football associations in the north.
“There will be no semi-final and the two clubs which finish first in each competition qualify directly for the final of the National Super League, which will be played at home and away.
The NSL is the biggest competition in Vanuatu, with the winner earning a spot in the OFC Champions League.
Port Vila-based side Amicale have been crowned winners for the past three years running and along with Erakor Golden Star, have already qualified for this season’s NSL competition.
The third and final place should be decided on Saturday, with Spirit 08, Tafea and Shepherds United all fighting it out for the honours.
VFF will announce the competition start date in due course.
Queensland on fire alert as high temperatures linger
5:30 AM Tuesday Dec 4, 2012
Controlled fires are burning at Beachmere, north of Brisbane and near Mount Isa. Photo / Thinkstock
Two-thirds of Queensland, Australia is expected to be on bushfire watch as temperatures in parts of the state soar above 40C for the fourth day.
Authorities say the fire threat will intensify from the New South Wales border to the edge of the Northern Territory.
Temperatures in Brisbane are forecast to hit 39C today, making it the hottest December day in 11 years, and only marginally below a record of 41C reached in 1981.
The heat has been even more intense in the state’s west, with temperatures in Mt Isa and Longreach reaching 43C yesterday – the fourth successive day above 40C.
Controlled fires are burning at Beachmere, north of Brisbane and near Mount Isa, where a Brisbane-based fire crew was sent yesterday.
Queensland Fire and Rescue director of rural operations Peter Varley says severe fire conditions are expected in two-thirds of the state today.
“Any fires that start will be extremely difficult to control,” he said. “The farther west, the worse the conditions get.”
The weather bureau’s senior duty forecaster Michelle Berry said west to northwesterly winds of up to 50 km/h in southeast Queensland would increase the threat of bushfire.
*Brisbane last had 40C-plus December temperatures on Christmas Eve 2001.
*Ipswich and Lockyer Valley forecast to hit 41C today.
*Temperatures of 45C recorded in Birdsville last week.
*Relief expected for western Queensland tomorrow.
The story of four talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission who are discovered by an unlikely talent scout.
THE hit musical The Sapphires has dominated the nominations for next year’s Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.
Director Wayne Blair’s debut film, about an indigenous girl group who rise from outback mission to become Vietnam War entertainers, leads the nominations for the country’s equivalent of the Oscars with 12, including best film and direction.
Three of the cast are leading contenders for acting awards, with Deborah Mailman up for best actress, Chris O’Dowd for best actor and Jessica Mauboy for best supporting actress.
The Sapphires leads the field with 12 nominations.
Up against The Sapphires for best film are Cate Shortland’s German drama Lore, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Asian-holiday-goes-wrong tale Wish You Were Here and Jonathan Teplitzky’s drama Burning Man, about a Bondi chef struggling with bereavement.