Malampaya gas field

DOE approves sale of Shell’s Malampaya stake to Razon

Ralf Rivas
DOE approves sale of Shell’s Malampaya stake to Razon
The Department of Energy says Enrique Razon Jr.'s Prime Infra is 'technically, financially, and legally qualified' to acquire 45% of Malampaya

MANILA, Philippines – Enrique Razon Jr.’s Prime Infrastructure Capital passed regulatory scrutiny in its bid to acquire 45% of the Malampaya gas field.

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Monday, October 3, said its review found Prime Infra to be “technically, financially, and legally qualified” to take over the stake held by Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEX).

SPEX will also become a subsidiary of Prime Infra. The latter will assume full ownership and control of the former by November.

“We welcome DOE’s thorough review and subsequent approval of the SPEX sale given the urgency to sustain the operations of Malampaya – a vital energy installation and symbol of national pride – and to plan for the further development of the existing reserves in light of the current power undersupply,” said Razon.

Last July, Prime Infra announced it would buy Malampaya Energy from Davao City tycoon Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation.

Malampaya Energy was supposed to acquire SPEX in 2021, but the deal did not push through after the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation withdrew its consent for the sale. If this deal had been completed, Uy would have controlled 90% of the gas field. The remaining 10% is held by PNOC-EC.

Uy still has a 45% stake in Malampaya through the shares it bought from Chevron Philippines in 2020.

Uy’s acquisitions have been criticized, with some citizens even filing complaints over alleged cronyism and lack of capital.

Malampaya powers a fifth of the Philippines’ electricity requirements. However, the gas field is seen to be depleted by 2027. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.