Duterte backer, trader Dennis Uy, buys nearly half of Malampaya

By: Daxim L. Lucas - Reporter / @daxinq

Inquirer Business / 04:14 PM November 13, 2019

Udenna Corp. on Wednesday, Nov. 13, announced that it had bought the 45-percent stake of international petroleum giant Chevron in the Malampaya gas field in waters off Palawan, having sealed the deal late in October.

In a press statement, Udenna, of Davao-based businessman and Duterte supporter Dennis Uy, said the deal involves the purchase by UC Malampaya Philippines Pte Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Udenna, of 100 percent of the shares of Chevron Malampaya LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chevron Philippines Ltd.

The company did not disclose the value of the transaction.

“The signing of the share purchase agreement marks an important milestone in the bilateral discussions between Chevron and Udenna over the past 12 months, and demonstrates our close collaboration in achieving a positive outcome for all parties involved,” Udenna said.

Malampaya is operated by Shell Philippines Exploration BV, with the third joint-venture partner being the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company.

The Malampaya gas field is an energy asset of significant national importance, being the Philippines’ largest and only commercially producing gas field. For over two decades, Malampaya has been the cornerstone of the country’s gas industry and continues to service approximately 20 percent of the national demand for electricity.

“The strategic nature of the asset underpins Udenna’s investment in Malampaya,” the company said. “We have carefully assessed and established a plan for the future development of the Malampaya field and its surrounding fields, to ensure the future of Philippines energy security, as well as the benefit of our joint venture partners.”

Udenna’s chair and CEO Uy said his firm believes “in the benefit of promoting natural gas as an essential fuel to support the country’s growing energy needs and economic growth.”

“The acquisition of Chevron’s interest in the Malampaya gas field marks an important milestone for Udenna, fitting strategically with our long-term ambitions of developing a sustainable clean energy business in the Philippines,” said Uy, who also owns the oil firm Phoenix Petroleum.

The completion of the transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals, including by the Philippines Competition Commission. Udenna said it is not involved in any other business related to gas fields or the supply of gas for electricity.

“As a result, Udenna is free of any conflicts of interest with regards to this acquisition,” it said.

“We look forward to working with the joint venture partners,” Udenna said.