PNOC-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) is looking at the possibility of buying back Chevron’s shares, as well as acquiring a portion of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V’s (SPEX) stake in the Malampaya gas-to-power project, according to Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi.
“There is a possibility that we might be able to get a certain percentage of Shell’s shares, through PNOC-EC, and that’s currently undergoing discussion,” Cusi said in a meeting of the Rotary Club of Manila on Thursday, adding that PNOC-EC, which he chairs, is still in talks with Shell regarding the sale.
SPEX, which owns 45% of Malampaya, is currently its operator. It signed a $460 million deal with Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation for the sale of its stake back in May 2021, until PNOC-EC withheld its consent months later.
PNOC-EC owns ten percent on behalf of the government, while Udenna owns the other 45% after buying it from Chevron in March 2020. The Chevron-Udenna deal was particularly scrutinized by the Senate.
Similarly, the Rotary Club of Manila proposed that if the government would want to buy back the Malampaya shares Chevron sold to Udenna, the group would be able to help package the new transaction, which includes tapping new lenders.
“Our proposal and we say this with keen expertise coming from our battery of investment bankers and finance experts, our proposal is to help you – if and when the [PNOC-EC] decides through its Board which you chair – to possibly buy back the 45% ownership of Chevron, and later on of Shell in the Malampaya gas project from Mr. Dennis Uy,” said club member Joel Valdes, who is also a known finance executive.
“If we actually just buy him (Uy) out, we can help you change the creditors because there’s enough liquidity in the economy right now,” he added.
Cusi has asked for the group to submit their proposal on the targeted buy-back of the Malampaya shares.