Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), the current operator of the Malampaya gas-to-power project, said the sale of its 45% stake to Udenna Corporation’s Malampaya Energy XP is still on.
Based on a BusinessWorld report, a SPEX official who refused to be named said that since the deal with MEXP is “active,” talks with government-owned PNOC-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) would still continue.
Meanwhile, PNOC-EC media relations head Joseph Buduan said that the talks between the state-owned exploration firm and SPEX are still ongoing. He added that PNOC-EC, which owns ten percent of Malampaya’s Service Contact (SC) 38, is only talking to SPEX and no other entity.
Business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan recently said that his MVP Group, which holds the rights to SC72 in the West Philippine Sea, is keeping a close watch on the developments surrounding Malampaya. Pangilinan, who first expressed interest when SPEX announced its plans to sell its share in September 2020, made his formal offer early last year.
Last week, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian – chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy – called for the resignation of Sec. Alfonso Cusi and other Department of Energy (DOE) officials for approving Udenna’s acquisition of Chevron’s 45% in 2020. The Senate also recommended the filing of charges against Cusi and the DOE officials.
The Shell-Udenna deal took place in May 2021. However, PNOC-EC President and CEO Rozzano Briguez said in a Senate hearing in December that it withheld its consent. The blocking of the sale came following massive criticism from various sectors. Udenna owner Dennis Uy was a major financier of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential run in 2016.
Once concerns have been ironed over the Shell-Udenna deal, the DOE is expected to proceed with the approval process. Should the transaction be approved, Udenna would have 90% control of Malampaya, the country’s only major source of indigenous gas.
The Chevron-Udenna deal was worth $565 million, while the Shell-Udena transaction is worth $460 million.