Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel is urging senators seeking reelection not to engage in “political grandstanding” on the Malampaya gas field issue.
Shell Petroleum N.V earlier agreed to sell its 100-percent stake in Shell Philippines Exploration, which in turn has a 45-percent operating interest in a petroleum service contract which includes the Malampaya gas field.
In statement, Pimentel said “we would urge our senators – especially those seeking to extend their terms in office in 2022, and who are eager to draw attention to themselves – to spare Shell from their publicity stunts.”
The administration lawmaker, in the statement, further said “if we make it difficult for foreign investors like Shell to get in and get out of existing petroleum service contracts, then nobody will help us develop our vast deep-water gas deposits that we need badly to meet our growing demand for electricity.”
Pimentel also took a swipe at reelectionist senators, saying that “assuming the reelectionist senators really want to make themselves look good, they should address more pressing issues, such as mounting joblessness.”
“We cannot afford to send the wrong signal to would-be foreign gas developers because we will surely need their help in the months ahead,” Pimentel added.
The lawmaker emphasized that the country needs “the likes of British Petroleum plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Total Energies SE if we want to harness our other gas supplies beneath the West Philippine Sea.”
The Department of Energy (DOE) earlier said Senator Win Gatchalian’s statements regarding the sale of Shell Philippines Exploration shares of stocks to the Udenna Group are “misguided,”
“The senator’s statements are misguided, lacking in factual and legal basis,” the DOE said.
The DOE also said the inquiries of Gatchalian is causing undue delay to the timeline of consortium corporations, and this may eventually take its toll and put the country’s energy security at risk.
The DOE said approval of the sale shares of stocks of Chevron Malampaya LLC, one of the three corporations in the Malampaya Gas Field Project consortium, has been dubbed by Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, as “lutong macau.”
This “revelation” of Sen. Gatchalian is unprecedented, as the matter is still being heard by the Senate Committee on Energy.
The sale of Shell Philippines Exploration shares of stocks to the Udenna Group led by businessman Dennis Uy is now pending for review by the DOE.
“In any case, the department would like to note that when the sales were made, both Chevron Philippines, which owns Chevron Malampaya and Shell Petroleum NV, the owner of SPEX, followed rigorous global standards,” the agency said.
Gatchalian earlier said DOE’s approval of the sale of Chevron Malampaya’s 45 percent stake in the Malampaya gas project to the Udenna group is defective and invalid.
“My opinion of this is that it is a defective approval, therefore the approval is invalid because clearly there’s a lot of inconsistencies and any major transaction like this should not lead to confusion. Instead of us appreciating it, we got more confused by the DOE’s own admission that there is indeed confusion,” Gatchalian said.