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First Pacific submits Malampaya bid

A consortium led by First Pacific Co. Ltd., Philex Mining Corp., and other partners offered to acquire the 45-percent stake of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. in the $4.5-billion Malampaya gas-to-power project in northwest Palawan.

“We’re looking at acquiring the Shell stake. When we say ‘we’, it is really First Pacific. We have submitted a final non-binding offer to Shell. Let’s see what they’ll say,” First Pacific managing director Manuel Pangilinan told reporters during a briefing Monday on the financial results of Manila Electric Co.

Pangilinan said Philex Mining Corp., which controls PXP Energy Corp., is also part of the group that made the offer to acquire the shares of Spex. Pangilinan sits as chairman of both Philex Mining and PXP Energy.

“Actually, it’s not just First Pacific, but also Philex Mining was part of that group that made a joint offer because Philex Mining is part owner of PXP Energy, which owns 70 percent of Forum,” he said.

PXP Energy owns Service Contract 75, while Forum (GSEC 101) Ltd. operates SC 72 (Recto Bank). Both areas said to be rich in oil and gas.

PXP Energy and Forum can utilize the Malampaya platform to deliver gas from their service contracts to the end-users, if successfully proven to contain natural gas of commercial quantity.

Pangilinan said one or two other banks joined the “group effort that made an offer” for Spex’s shares.

Spex announced in September last year it would dispose of its 45-percent stake in Service Contract 38 or the Malampaya gas project.

Pangilinan did not provide more details but said they were guided by the terms of reference for the sale of Shell’s stake.

“We made our offer. It’s up to Shell to conclude whether those terms are acceptable to them or not,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan earlier said they were in talks with JP Morgan which has been advising Spex on the sale of its stake in Malampaya.

Udenna Corp. and state-run PNOC Exploration Corp. own the remaining 45 percent and 10 percent of SC 38, respectively. Udenna Corp. of businessman Dennis Uy bought its stake from Chevron Philippines LLC.

Udenna earlier said it wanted to exercise its preemptive rights and acquire the stake of Spex.

Spex earlier called on the government to extend the service contract of the Malampaya gas project, which is set to expire by 2024, to allow the consortium to look for more gas supply opportunities.

Gas from the Malampaya field is expected to be depleted by 2024 but, Spex officials earlier said it could still produce gas until 2027 to 2030.

The Malampaya-gas-to-power project is the second biggest source of electric power in the Luzon and supplies fuel to five power plants in Luzon with combined installed capacity of 3,200 megawatts, representing about 21 percent of the national demand for electricity.

Topics: First Pacific Co. Ltd. , Philex Mining Corp. , Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.
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