Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of PXP Energy Corporation, has confirmed in a briefing with reporters that their company is targeting to buy into the 45-percent stake of Shell Philippines Exploration B. V. (SPEX) in the Malampaya gas field project; and talks on this course already took off.
He said his company already had discussion with JP Morgan, Shell adviser in the equity divestment, on PXP Energy’s targeted merger and acquisition (M&A) deal in the Malampaya venture.
“We’ve been talking to JP Morgan as it is advising Shell on the sale side of their Malampaya,” Pangilinan stressed.
He said the Malampaya facility is seen as a strategic asset by PXP Energy, especially if the company would eventually encounter commercial gas discovery at its Service Contract (SC) 72 – which is an oil and gas exploration venture at the Recto Bank along northwest Palawan basin.
“The plan – assuming we’ll be allowed on who will own Malampaya eventually — is to pipe the gas from SC 72 to Malampaya facilities so they can process the gas and after processing, pipe the gas to Batangas as that’s where most of the gas plants are,” the PXP Energy chairman explained.
The Pangilinan-led firm first looked at the stake unloaded by Chevron, but that was an unsuccessful bid because the buyer of that interest was Udenna Corporation of businessman Dennis Uy.
The longer term goal of the company, according to Pangilinan, is to potentially integrate liquefied natural gas (LNG) in their gas investment portfolio – especially if the SC 72 drilling will yield gas of commercial scale.
“LNG is something that we have to look at for a more balanced portfolio aside from coal, particularly, if we are successful in SC 72 or if we are fortunate to buy the Shell stake in Malampaya, so we should take a look at that business,” Pangilinan said.
At this stage though, he qualified that there is nothing cast in stone yet as far as investments on gas technologies are concerned – as even the extended seismic survey and drilling at SC 72 have yet to secure the final approval of the Department of Energy (DOE) on their submitted revised work program.
“Nothing is definite at this stage, but in the context of the overall gas plan, yes, it’s something we should take a look at,” he stressed.