Leading firms in Papua New Guinea

Ashurst

Ashurst has a substantial offering with five resident partners, three non-resident partners and 12 senior associates and lawyers practising and qualified in Papua New Guinea. Along with Australia-based colleagues, it advises on the full range of corporate/M&A, finance, infrastructure developments and regulations, litigation and constitutional matters. Port Moresby managing partner Richard Flynn assists clients with corporate, capital markets and financing matters in areas such as energy and resources. Corporate/litigation specialist Tim Glenn assists clients in the oil and gas, banking and finance, and alongside Jason Brooks and Derek Wood handles a number of challenging disputes in the oil and gas, mining, and construction sectors. Ian Shepherd CBE is also noted for his blend of corporate and litigation skills.

Practice head(s):

Richard Flynn

Key clients

BSP Capital Limited

Bank of South Pacific Limited

Bewani Oil Palm Plantations Limited

Commonwealth of Australia

Credit Suisse AG

New Britain Palm Oil Limited

Kina Petroleum Limited

Paladin Holdings Pte Ltd

Total E&P PNG Limited

Air Niugini Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Bank of South Pacific Limited as lender on PGK146m facility limit to P&O Maritime  Services (PNG) Limited for the purposes of acquiring four coastal ore transport vessels.
  • Acting for the Bewani oil palm project in approximately 12 interrelated proceedings involving a variety of owner and other groups.
  • Advised The Papua New Guinea Government on up to $500m term loan.
  • Acted for Kina Petroleum Limited on redomicile of a PNG-listed company from PNG to the British Virgin Islands by way of a top-hat scheme of arrangement under PNG law, the first of its kind under the new Capital Markets Act.

Dentons

Dentons has a pre-eminent reputation in the PNG market, in part due to Stephen Massa's 'unparalleled knowledge' and the complementary services of Tim Lipscombe's team in Sydney. It provides the full range of expertise required by this market including banking and finance, capital markets and government and regulatory and is entrusted with many of the critical mandates in the energy, mining and broader infrastructure sectors. Key team members include Erik Andersen (dispute resolution); Steve Patrick (corporate/M&A and energy/resources) and Lady Winifred Kamit CBE who adds both extensive experience and caché to the practice. At the junior level, senior associate Wavie Kendino is noted for her banking and finance skills.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Massa

Testimonials

Stephen Massa has unparalleled knowledge of the PNG market ably assisted by Tim Lipscombe and his team in Sydney.’

Stephen Massa – highly experienced in PNG.  Commercial.  Easy to deal with.’

Dentons has a strong presence in Port Moresby which is unlike a number of the other large international firms whose partners reside in Australia and other parts of Asia. The team understands the local law requirement and practices and has a good network within the Government and bureaucracy.’

Steve Patrick provides personal service and is very approachable and responsive to our needs.’

Key clients

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Westpac Banking Corporation

ExxonMobil

Total

Goodman Fielder

Asian Development Bank

Independent State of Papua New

Guinea (The Government)

Central Bank of Papua New Guinea

International Finance Corporation

Kumul Petroleum Holdings (the State’s national oil and gas company)

Work highlights

  • Advising Credit Suisse (Singapore) Limited and Citigroup Global Markets Inc on PNG’s debut sovereign bond, valued at $500m.
  • Acts for the Independent State of PNG on a claim brought by an offshore investor. The arbitration alleges that the State has not complied with certain obligations under a large-scale project agreement.
  • Acting as lead counsel advising the joint venture on all regulatory matters for $ 7-8bn  Frieda River Project.
  • Local counsel advising Cobalt 27 Capital Corp on the $113m acquisition of Highland Pacific’s share of cobalt and nickel from the $ 2.1bn Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Mine.

Allens

Allens provides extensive banking, finance, project development and litigation expertise including in the energy and resources arenas. The practice is led by the well liked David Hill in Port Morseby and PNG-qualified Richard Kriedemann in Sydney, the latter is focused on corporate matters, particularly public company takeovers and schemes of arrangement. Brisbane-based Paul Brittain offers international, cross-border experience of finance, including ECA finance and consultant Vincent Bull in Brisbane has some decades of experience of the energy and resources sectors. Associate Mek Tumul specialises in litigation and mediation.

Practice head(s):

David Hill; Richard Kriedemann

Other key lawyers:

Paul Brittain; Vincent Bull; Mek Tumul

Key clients

NiuPower Limited

Oil Search

International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI)

Garth McIlwain

Highlands Pacific

Newcrest Mining Limited

Steamships Trading Co Ltd

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd

Westpac PNG

Work highlights

  • Assisted Oil Search and Kumul Energy (through their incorporated joint venture company NiuPower Limited) to negotiate and finalise the suite of project agreements for the development of this new 60MW gas-fired power station outside Port Moresby.
  • Advising Oil Search on the development of a biomass power plant facility in Markham Valley.
  • Acted for International Container Terminal Services Inc in its appointment as the private port concessionaire at two of PNG’s largest international container terminals – the Lae Port and Motukea Port, in Port Moresby.
  • Acted as domestic counsel for the finance parties in relation to a US dollar secured cross border financing, arranged by OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is entrusted, by an impressive range of local and international clients with significant M&A and corporate mandates as well as work in the financing, projects, real estate, competition and disputes areas. The well-rated Vaughan Mills heads the practice and is in demand for his projects expertise in the natural resources and infrastructure spaces. Allan Mana focuses on litigation and has significant experience of the PNG courts system. Nick Thorne and the 'up-and-comingRyan Warokra are also core team members.

Practice head(s):

Vaughan Mills

Other key lawyers:

Allan Mana; Nick Thorne; Ryan Warokra

Key clients

Oil Search Limited

Newcrest Mining Limited

Harmony Gold

Twinza Oil Limited

NKW Group Limited

RTG Mining Inc.

Kina Securities Limited

Westpac Bank -PNG- Limited

Era Resources Inc.

Paradise Foods Limited

Department of Mineral Policy & Geohazards Management

Nautilus Minerals Inc.

Bank of South Pacific Limited

PNG Power Limited

Digicel PNG Limited

National Superannuation Fund Limited

British American Tobacco (PNG) Limited

PNG Forest Products Limited

Bank of Papua New Guinea

New Guinea Fruit Company Limited

Paradise Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Paradise Company Limited in one of the largest M&A transactions in Papua New Guinea, when the client acquired Laga Industries Limited, a transaction valued at circa $43m.
  • Acted for ASX/POMSoX-listed Kina Securities Limited on the acquisition of ANZ’s retail and commercial/SME banking business in Papua New Guinea.
  • Advising Nautilus, a seafloor resource exploration and development business, on the A$250m cross-border formal insolvency and restructuring of the client’s Australian and PNG entities.
  • Advising Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold on the multibillion-dollar Wafi-Golpu Project, a proposed underground copper/gold mine.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is highlighted for its blend of global, Pacific and 'on-the-ground PNG knowledge and experience'. Karo Lelai, who is singled out for her 'good government relationships', and Keira Brennan in Brisbane head the practice. The arrival of John Biddle from an in-house general counsel role and associate Benjamin Yalehen has boosted the team of late. Special counsel Paul Toua handles a range of corporate matters in the energy/natural resources sectors and the team also takes on significant work in the financial services, transport and urban development arenas.  Australia-based transport/shipping expert Ernest van Buuren has left the firm to join Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):

Karo Lelai; Keira Brenna

Testimonials

NRF is unique in that it offers extensive global experience blended in with Pacific and especially PNG on the ground knowledge and experience. Key capabilities in resource developments and in particular Oil & Gas.’

The key strengths are the extensive and diverse PNG legal experience & PNG network contacts that the local NRF PNG staff have and can draw on. There is attention to customer service; personable and warmly approachable dialogue and communication interface. Open to reasonable negotiation to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes with a view to future repeat business.’

Excellent dealings to-date with Paul Toua.’

Key clients

China Railway Construction Engineering (PNG) Limited

PNG Ports Corporation Limited

Star Mountain Plaza Limited

Papua New Guinea APEC 2018 Co-ordination Authority (The Independent State of Papua New Guinea)

Mineral Resources Development Company Limited

New Britain Palm Oil Limited

Virgin Australia Airlines (SE Asia) Pty Limited

PNG Air Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

PUMA Energy PNG Ltd

Tribune Mt Care Gold Ltd

Nissan Motor Asia Pacific Company Limited

Igiri Petroleum Limited

RK Raggiana Medical Group Ltd

O'Briens Lawyers

O'Briens Lawyers offers a full service in the local market and on cross-border matters. Steven O’Brien is the well-known head of the practice and focuses on corporate and finance matters, especially in the natural resources sector, while senior corporate partner Michael Goodwin also offers expertise in insurance matters. Senior associate Daniel Bidar is noted for his extensive litigation experience.

Practice head(s):

Steven O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

Michael Goodwin; Daniel Bidar