By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian expressed grave concern over the country’s power situation following reports that businessman Dennis Uy of Udenna Corporation is mulling selling his controlling stakes in the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project.
“With the expiration of Malampaya’s service contract in 2024, the depletion of the remaining reserves in the gas field by 2027, and now the possible sale of participating interests of Udenna in the country’s most important energy source — there’s so much uncertainty ahead of us insofar as our energy security is concerned. Are we looking at rotational brownouts again?” Gatchalian asked.
“I have proven myself right after all, over the apparent financial incapacity of Udenna’s subsidiaries that acquired the 45% stake of Chevron Philippines, Ltd. and 45% stake of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX),” the senator said, pointing out that he had red-flagged the entry of Udenna Corporation in the operations of Malampaya due to reports of debt and cash problems as well as its technical incompetence.
Udenna’s Malampaya buyout hit a snag last December after the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), which owns 10 percent of Malampaya shares, withheld its consent to the transaction between SPEX and Udenna’s Malampaya Energy XP Pte. Ltd.
A critical energy asset, Malampaya powers more than four and a half million homes and businesses in Mega Manila alone or six out of every 10 customers in Meralco franchise area. It contributes almost 20% of the entire country’s power generation mix.
Malampaya has also provided significant income to the government, totaling P290.76 billion from January 2002 until June 30, 2021.
“Lubhang nakababahala ito. Ang Malampaya ang kaisa-isang pinagkukunan natin ng natural gas sa bansa. Lumabas sa imbestigasyon ng Senado na baon sa utang ang nagmamay-ari ng Udenna bukod pa sa walang technical expertise sa ganitong klase ng negosyo. Nasabi ko na noon pa na kung mapapasakamay lang ng hindi maayos na kumpanya ang Malampaya, tayong lahat ang magiging dehado dito,” Gatchalian said, citing reports that Uy is considering selling his stakes in Malampaya. (ai/mtvn)