Udenna Corporation said it can extend the Malampaya gas field’s operability beyond 2027, the original year in which its reserves were projected to be fully depleted.
In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel on Monday, Udenna President Marty Escalona said the firm plans to maximize the reserves within the Service Contract 38 exploration block by continuing to drill, which would enable Malampaya to survive in the years to come.
Udenna unit UC Malampaya bought Chevron’s 45% stake in Malampaya for $565 million in March 2020 and was approved by the Department of Energy (DOE) last April. The following month, another unit — Malampaya Energy XP, bought the other 45% owned by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) for $460 million. The DOE is hoping to wrap up its review of the Shell-Udenna deal soon.
Nonetheless, senators, several individuals, and various groups have questioned Udenna’s Malampaya purchases.
Udenna founder Dennis Uy was a major financier of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections.
“I’ve known Dennis for over 14 years now, and even prior to this administration, [he] had already been a successful businessman. The fact that people are criticizing Dennis now only for the past six years is something that I think is unfounded and unfair,” Escalona said of Uy.
Escalona likewise reiterated that the proper bidding took place, saying there were about 30 bidders for SPEX’s stake, but Udenna came up with the “most compelling” offer.
“These deals were awarded based on having the most compelling tender demonstrating robust technical, financial, and legal capabilities and crucially, a commitment to retain the brilliant Chevron and Shell staff who already run Malampaya. The bidding process alone took several months,” Escalona stressed.
Malampaya supplies fuel to five gas-fired power plants in Batangas City, which together generate up to 30% of Luzon’s energy needs.