Underscoring the need to protect the interest of the nation above everything else, Senator Win Gatchalian urged the incoming officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure that existing laws and prescribed regulations are followed before giving its consent to the impending entry of Razon-led Prime Infrastructure Holdings Inc. (Prime Infra) in the Malampaya gas-to-power project.
“The mere fact that the business unit of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., which took over the 45% stake of Chevron Malampaya LLC, is now disposing of its hold in the gas field project negates the DOE’s earlier assertions that UC Malampaya Philippines Pte. Ltd. was financially and technically capable from the very beginning,” Gatchalian said.
This latest development concerning Malampaya’s operations also affirmed the senator’s previous claims that the DOE railroaded the approval of the transfer of a substantial participating interest in the gas project which clearly states that the DOE violated laws.
Gatchalian stressed that the law is clear – that Department Circular 2007-04-0003 mandates that the rights and obligations under a petroleum service contract executed under Presidential Decree 87 shall not be assigned or transferred without prior approval of the DOE.
Such a transaction likewise requires securing the consent of other members of the Malampaya consortium that includes the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) which holds the remaining 10% interest in Malampaya.
Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) holds the 45% controlling interest in Petroleum Service Contract 38 (SC 38) which is the Malampaya gas field.
Gatchalian expressed belief that Prime Infra is willing to go through the process and indicated openness in being scrutinized under existing regulatory approval processes to ensure that the deal to be sealed is above board.
“As our country’s single most important energy resource, it is imperative to say the least that the company – whichever is interested in Malampaya – is compliant with the financial, technical, and legal aspects as prescribed by existing laws and is willing to secure prior government approval,” Gatchalian said.
“We expect transparency on the part of Prime Infra in dealing with government regulations to make the transfer of interest binding and effective. The future of our energy security is at stake in the years to come,” the Senate Energy Committee Chairperson concluded.