Udenna says Malampaya gas project ‘remains business as usual’
The Malampaya gas-to-power project “remains business as usual” and still gives the government “hope for medium to long-term energy security”, the head of Udenna Corp said on Sunday.
“Udenna remains committed to the continued growth and development of Malampaya. We have a highly skilled team and have dedicated considerable time, expense and resources to put ourselves in the position where we can step in to halt the decline of Malampaya,” said Udenna Chairman Raymundo Martin M. Escalona, in a statement.
He issued the statement in response to what he said were “ill-informed comments and hasty speculation from some quarters” about the Malampaya offshore gas project, of which a unit from Udenna is a consortium participant.
His statement came after Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian earlier on Sunday expressed “serious concern” about the country’s energy situation, citing reports that Udenna Chairman Dennis A. Uy was considering selling “his majority stakes” in the Malampaya project.
“With Malampaya’s service contract expiring in 2024, the depletion of remaining reserves in the gas field by 2027, and now the possible sale of Udenna’s stakes in the country’s most important energy source. – there is so much uncertainty ahead of us as far as our energy security is concerned. Are we facing rotational brownouts again?” says the legislator.
Mr Gatchalian, who heads the Senate energy panel, said he was right about what he called the “apparent financial inability” of Udenna subsidiaries that acquired the 45% stake in Chevron Philippines, ltd. and 45% in Shell Philippines Exploration BV. (SPEx).
In December last year, state-owned PNOC Exploration Corp., which owns the remaining 10% of the project, refused consent to the transaction between project operator SPEx and Udenna Malampaya Energy unit. XP Pte. ltd.
Mr. Escalona, in his statement, said the senator “has thwarted those attempts over the past year. As a result, today, as we speak, all development activities on Malampaya are suspended and the field continues to decline, impacting the country’s energy security.
He also said Mr Gatchalian “single-handedly crippled all of Malampaya’s planned development and should be held accountable to the public”.
Mr Gatchalian described the Malampaya gas field as a “critical energy asset” as it “powers more than four and a half million homes and businesses in Mega Manila alone or six out of 10 customers in Meralco’s franchise area ( Manila Electric Co.) It contributes nearly 20% of the nationwide power generation mix.
“Malampaya has also provided significant revenue to the government, totaling 290.76 billion pesos from January 2002 to June 30, 2021,” he added. — Victor V. Saulon