Malampaya gas field operator seeks 15-yr contract extension

February 9, 2023 - 11:25 AM
Malampaya gas deposit equipment
Equipment used in gathering gas deposits in the Malampaya gas field in Palawan. (Philstar/File photo)

 Prime Infra Holdings Inc, the new operator of the Philippines’ Malampaya natural gas field, is seeking a 15-year extension of the project contract to be able to explore for additional supply around the reservoir, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Prime Infra, owned by Philippine tycoon Enrique Razon, is pursuing the extension that was originally proposed by Malampaya’s previous operator, and whose application includes “a very clear development plan”, President and CEO Guillaume Lucci told an industry forum.

Malampaya’s previous operator Shell SHEL.L completed the sale of its 45% stake in the gas field to Prime Infra subsidiary, Malampaya Energy XP Pte Ltd, in November.

The Malampaya service contract is set to expire in 2024, with output from the gas field declining and expected to run dry by 2027.

The gas field, which was discovered in 1991, provides fuel to power plants that deliver about a fifth of the Philippines’ electricity requirements.

“We are reviewing it for final approval,” said Michael Sinocruz, a director at the Department of Energy’s policy and planning bureau, speaking at the same forum. He could not give a timeframe for the approval.

Prime Infra’s development plan for Malampaya includes exploring for potential reserves in surrounding service contracts, Lucci said.

As Malampaya’s output declines, the Southeast Asian country is set to open its doors to LNG imports this year for use in power generation, including existing gas-fired power plants, and the transport sector.

—Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor