PNOC studying if it’s ‘prudent’ to vie for Shell’s Malampaya stake
MANILA, Philippines—State firm Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is studying whether to vie for Shell’s 45-percent operating stake in the Malampaya natural gas project as the oil giant confirmed plans to divest from the one of the country’s biggest sources of energy supply.
PNOC president Reuben Lista said there were no available details on Shell’s divestment and the energy company was seeking clearance from Shell’s Singapore offices, which were involved in the initiative to divest from Malampaya.
“We have other data available from other sources. We are studying, if it is prudent for us to get involved,” Lista said.
The PNOC group’s biggest earner, PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), holds a 10-percent stake in the Malampaya project, which provides fuel to power plants that deliver about one-fifth of electricity demand in the Philippines.
PNOC-EC “has [right of] first refusal so we are also in consultation” on Shell’s divestment plan, Lista said.
Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy’s group of companies is looking forward to having a new partner in the Malampaya natural gas project as the Shell group confirmed plans of looking at opportunities to divest from the Philippines’ biggest source of indigenous fuel.
“For us, this development is pro-forma,” said Raymond Zorilla, senior vice president for external affairs at Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, one of Uy’s companies.
Phoenix’s sister firm, UC Malampaya Philippines, the vehicle for Udenna Corp.’s acquisition of Chevron group’s 45-percent stake in the natural gas project, earlier this year secured from the Philippine Competition Commission a green light for the transaction.
“Just as we replaced Chevron, we welcome (whatever group) it will be who will take the place of Shell,” Zorilla said, referring to Malampaya project operator Shell Philippines Exploration.
Last week, Phoenix Pilipinas Gas and Power Inc. (PPGPI) fired up in Quezon province, three 350-kilowatt generators that run on propane-rich liquefied petroleum gas. This was part of efforts to develop a market among commercial customers for the generators, which can also run on natural gas.
When UC Malampaya announced the completion of its acquisition of a non-operating 45-percent stake in Malampaya, Udenna chair Dennis Uy said the company wanted to ensure that Malampaya continued to play an important role in developing a sustainable clean energy business in the Philippines.
“We see immense potential in natural gas, the fuel of the future, and we are optimistic and excited to bring its full benefits to Filipinos,” Uy said.
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