PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 31) - After a full year of operation, New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.'s palm oil refinery in Kimbe is expected to have increased PNG's export earnings by around US$6 million (K20.7 million), according to PNG Yearbook 2004.

An article detailing the scope and nature of the refinery, which can process 100,000 tons of crude palm oil annually, said refined products in the region currently enjoy a premium of about US$63 (K217) per ton of crude palm oil.

It said that apart from the refining margin, downstream processing also attracted duty exemptions that together had the potential to add between 10% and 20% to the company's revenue.

The refinery, which is the first of its kind in the country, also enables NBPOL to switch production from one product to another over a period of time to take advantage of price differentials.

Besides boosting the country's export earnings, the refinery is also helping to replace previously imported products such as olein and stearin that are used for cooking oil and shortening.

The article said: "In addition NBPOL makes and sells these products cheaper (in PNG) than imported products.

"This is because it is cheaper to ship NBPOL olein from Kimbe to Lae than it is for Asian refiners to send it from Singapore or Jakarta to Lae.

"This means that ultimately consumers will pay less for cooking oil produced in PNG than they do for Indonesian or Malaysian oil."

NBPOL said research was also underway to see if other refinery products, such as fatty acid distillate, could be used to make basic soaps and as an animal feed supplement.

"Higher revenue to NBPOL also means higher taxable revenue for the Government," the article noted.

PNG Yearbook 2004, which will go on sale at K60 a copy late next month, includes extensive coverage of the agricultural sector with articles on the government's medium term agricultural development plan, Ramu Sugar's expanding operations and R.D. Tuna's world-class cannery in Madang. 

December 31, 2003

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