Prime Infra chairperson Enrique Razon Jr. (Photo: Nikkei Asia)
By Tracy Cabrera
PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN — After sealing a share purchase deal to acquire MEXP Holding Pte. Ltd. from a subsidiary of the Udenna Corporation, the Enrique Razon-led Prime Infrastructure Capital Incorporated (Prime Infra) now owns a 45 percent stake in operating the Malampaya gas field assets off the shore of the island of Palawan.
It may be recalled that MEXP previously signed an agreement with Shell Petroleum N. V. (Shell), acquiring Shell Philippines Exploration B. V. (SPEX) from the latter. SPEX owns a 45 percent participating interest in the Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project and is the operator of the project’s consortium.
Despite the signing of the agreement, however, the change in control of SPEX from Shell to Prime Infra is still subject to the consent of the Philippine National Oil Company’s Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) and the Department of Energy (DoE).
Prime Infra chairperson Enrique Razon Jr. explained that once green-lighted and the transition process for a safe and seamless handover of operations are completed, the new owners will assume full ownership and control of SPEX.
The Malampaya project, which began operations in 2001 with the consortium’s license for the project set to expire in 2024, is one of the country’s most critical power assets, as it produces natural gas for power plants in Batangas City that account for around 20 percent of the country’s total electricity requirements.
“Prime Infra’s acquisition of MEXP reflects our shared commitment with the national government to help maintain energy security and independence as we transition to a renewable energy-fueled Philippine economy,” Razon noted.
“We believe gas is an important transition fuel in the near-term, reducing the need for base load fossil fuels like coal. Hence, we intend to accelerate investments on the Malampaya gas field to improve the output of existing wells and, if possible, develop new wells in the area once the license extension is secured from the government,” the multi-billionaire added.
He cited that Prime Infra’s stake in expanding Malampaya operations will be critical to providing the necessary infrastructure to support the development of natural gas in the area, one of the vital points defined in the administration’s energy plan.
“With Prime Infra’s commitment to providing reliable, resilient, and sustainable infrastructure, the Malampaya asset is a significant addition to Prime Infra’s growing energy portfolio as it reduces the country’s reliance on importing fuel and helps drive economic productivity and industrial growth,” he stressed. (ai/mtvn)