Razon firm buying Uy’s shares in Malampaya
by Philippine Resources - June 06, 2022
Photo credit: Nikkei Asia - (Source photo by Shell and Getty Images)
Magnate Enrique Razon Jr. is buying a majority share of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. in the Malampaya gas field, Razon’s infrastructure business Prime Infra Holdings Inc. said Thursday.
“The acquisition process has kicked off and will close subject to the consent of various parties including the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC). The transaction will also go through other regulatory and lenders’ approvals within that period,” Prime Infra said in a statement.
Prime Infra has yet to provide financial details of the transactions, but said it would have a controlling stake in the Malampaya gas field.
Razon’s firm said its entry into the Malampaya gas field project aims to infuse investments in the country’s critical source of power.
“Malampaya’s service contract is set to expire in 2024 making it critical for Prime Infra’s entry to be able to continue operating the project while applying for an extension so it can invest in its expansion, which will sustain the economic and social benefits that Malampaya is providing for the country,” Prime Infra said.
It added that the transition of Malampaya’s operation is “critically urgent” for Prime Infra and Udenna to plan for the expansion of the gas field to ensure that it will continue to produce natural gas to support the country’s power needs.
“Natural gas is a critical transition fuel and the modern, state-of-the-art infrastructure built to harness this valuable transition fuel attracted us to pursue this deal – all aspects of the project ticks off our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) check list that will allow us to contribute more to the country’s transition from expensive and volatile coal and imported fuel prices to affordable cleaner and domestic energy resources like natural gas,” said Razon, the chairman of Prime Infra.
In 2019, Udenna acquired the 45-percent share of Chevron Malampaya LLC through its subsidiary UC Malampaya Pte. Ltd. After two years, another unit of Udenna, Malampaya Energy, bought a 45 percent stake of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.
Udenna’s buyout of shares of Chevron and Shell in Malampaya has been a subject of a Senate inquiry last year, which the DOE said is causing delays in the work program in Malampaya and putting energy security at risk.
“(T)here is a sense of ownership to achieving national energy independence when you bring in Filipino companies to handle the reins of a critical power infrastructure and this is what Prime Infra aims to do with our participation in Malampaya. We will invest and sustain the development and production of domestic gas as long as the terms of the operating license and the natural resources permit,” Razon added. By Kris Crismundo
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Gas drilling in Recto Bank should push through: Pimentel
Photo credit: Inkl The chair of the House Strategic Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said oil drilling activities in Recto Bank must proceed as scheduled amid rising tensions with China. Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the Sampaguita gas field could yield up to USD18.2 billion, or around PHP910 billion, in future royalties for the government, based on a 60 percent net share. “We have no choice but to carry on with the drilling activities because the Sampaguita gas discovery in Recto Bank has the potential to energize the entire national grid – not just Luzon – for the next 20 to 30 years,” Pimentel said. Pimentel said Sampaguita is “an untapped value-changing asset” that would be valuable to the country’s future energy security with up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Malampaya, which has been producing gas for the last 20 years, has only 1.6 trillion cubic feet of residual gas at best. “There is even one study suggesting that the entire Recto Bank has up to 20 trillion cubic feet of potential gas in place,” Pimentel said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in July 2016 that Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea. By virtue of the ruling, Pimentel said the Philippines enjoys absolute rights to exploit all resources in the seamount. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - October 18, 2021
Next Malampaya can be found in Mindanao: PNOC EC exec
As the Malampaya natural gas field is drying up, Mindanao might have the indigenous energy resources to energize the country. In a webinar of Davao International Conference 2021 Thursday, PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC EC) vice president for upstream operation Jaime Bacud said Mindanao is rich in indigenous resources that can support the country’s energy requirement. Bacud said Mindanao alone has three sedimentary basins waiting for exploration for oil and gas resources. These basins include Agusan, Cotabato, and the Sulu Sea. “We still think that there is natural gas potential for these areas, and it could be where we could find the next Malampaya,” Bacud added. The Malampaya gas field, which supplies around 30 percent of Luzon’s power requirement, is the country’s lone natural gas source. As the government issued a moratorium on new coal projects, Bacud said oil and gas exploration, particularly in Mindanao, could help in the government’s goal to achieve energy independence. “We still have a lot of natural or oil and gas resources that are still untapped. And this could be our way forward to get closer to what we call energy independence,” he added. By Kris Crismundo Article courtesy of Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - February 08, 2022
Let biz sector handle Malampaya deal, PRRD tells senators
Photo credit: Shell President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday slammed the Senate resolution recommending charges against Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other officials over the approval of what lawmakers alleged was an anomalous sale of shares in the Malampaya gas field. In a statement, Duterte expressed "grave concern" over the Senate's adoption of the resolution, as it casts "undue, undeserved, and unwarranted aspersion" on key DOE officials. "The government values the critical role and contribution of the Malampaya Gas Field to energy security. I will not allow this valuable resource to be jeopardized and embroiled in the political antics of some members of the Senate," he said. Duterte affirmed that Cusi still has his full trust and confidence, and shall remain as the head of the energy department. He maintained that the national interest has been protected and the government's rights remain intact amid the developments involving the share sale and purchase agreement. "I am calling on our legislators to ensure that our ability to compete is not jeopardized by political intrigues and innuendoes. Leave business transactions in the capable hands of the business sector. Let us respect their business decisions while we protect our national interests," Duterte said. The resolution, penned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, recommends the filing of criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission against Cusi and other DOE officials for approving and recommending approval of the Chevron Philippines-UC Malampaya transaction. Gatchalian said the officials violated laws for allegedly railroading the approval to the sale of the 45-percent participating interest in the Malampaya gas project of Chevron Malampaya LLC Philippines, now known as UC 38 LLC, to UC Malampaya, an indirect subsidiary of Udenna Corporation, despite the lack of financial qualification. Duterte, however, said that the sale and purchase of the stock of Chevron Malampaya LLC was a private transaction between private entities that must be respected. He also reiterated that both foreign and local investments are "vital" to the economy. "We compete for them with other countries, and our ability to do so requires me to create and maintain an environment conducive to the entry of investors," he said. Duterte said that while he recognizes the Senate's power to conduct congressional probes in aid of legislation, this should be exercised "with prudence and circumspection, devoid of reckless accusations, and focused on improving existing laws". By Filane Mikee Cervantes Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - July 01, 2022
Sampulna cites need for more mineral processing plants to boost PH production
Photo credit: DENR - Mr. Jim O. Sampulna Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Acting Secretary Jim O. Sampulna pushed for the establishment of more mineral processing plants and utilization of rare earth deposits to help increase the country’s mineral production and revenue generation. “Mineral processing plants make the mined mineral ready to use for application. For example, limestone, if processed, will become cement, which is ready to use for construction,” Sampulna cited. “If we have more of these plants and more minerals will be processed in the country, then its value will increase even more than 100 percent, and lesser raw materials will be shipped out to other countries, like Japan or China,” he said. The DENR-Mines and Geosciences Bureau has so far issued 108 mineral processing permits, most of which are for construction materials. Likewise, Sampulna proposed the identification of rare earth elements (REEs), such as scandium and yttrium, in operating mines. Sampulna, who was the former DENR undersecretary for mining, said that these metals are essential parts for many high-technology devices. “The Philippines is conducive to these minerals. It could contribute to the national government through the identification and utilization of these commodities. To date, there are only a few operating mines which have identified REEs,” he said. Sampulna cited that a proposed iron mineral processing plant in Zamboanga had its groundbreaking ceremony on June 18, to support the DENR’s initiatives toward self-utilization of mineral commodities in the country. “We hope that investors will push for the opening of more processing plants in the Philippines,” he said. He also assured Filipinos that the DENR will continue to strengthen its regulation and monitoring of mining operations to ensure sustainable and responsible mineral production in the country. Article courtesy of Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Philippine Resources - June 29, 2022
DENR Awards MGB with Plaque of Appreciation for the Success of the Boracay Island Rehabilitation
Photo: The MGB Boracay Island Rehabilitation Team together with former DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu Four years after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spearheaded the rehabilitation of the Boracay Island, the DENR Acting Secretary and Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) Chair Jim O. Sampulna CESO I awarded the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) a Plaque of Appreciation for its valuable contribution to the success of the Boracay Island Rehabilitation during the BIATF’s culminating event on June 16, 2022. Boracay Island is one of the most developed and densely populated karstic islands in the Philippines. The extensive alteration of its natural landscape, as well as the alleged discharge of wastewater into the sea, posed a major environmental concern, prompting its temporary closure on April 26, 2018. The BIATF then launched the rehabilitation of Boracay island to safeguard its sustainable development. As part of the BIATF, the MGB team, led by Lands Geological Survey Division (LGSD) Chief Liza Socorro J. Manzano, was composed of technical personnel from the LGSD of MGB Central Office and the Geosciences Division of MGB Regional Office No. VI. The team conducted studies on hydrogeology, coastal geohazards, karst subsidence hazard, and geophysical investigations using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and georesistivity. The highly specialized studies sought to provide a holistic understanding of the island’s karstology and the impacts of tourism development to ensure that the rehabilitation efforts of the government are predicated on the ecological sustainability of the small island karst. Ultimately, the results of the GPR investigation on pipes discreetly disposing wastewater and polluting the seawater of Boracay which resulted in the discovery of their existence and eventual dismantling of the same is a "game-changer" relative to the implementation of science-based strategies and crafting of policies for appropriate wastewater and solid waste management in the island. Article courtesy of the MGB
Philippine Resources - June 28, 2022
The Fault with Cobalt: Overcoming the Challenges of Battery Metal Exploration
upply Co., Inc. Cobalt is an important element used to manufacture rechargeable batteries. Cobalt has unique properties that help improve thermal stability, which is critical for the batteries to function properly. It also helps improve some batteries’ energy density, so they can last longer. The demand for cobalt is high, so geologists need fast, accurate tools to help them meet these requirements. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) analyzers are one of these tools, as they provide on-the-spot material chemistry results. Why Choose Portable XRF for Cobalt Exploration? Portable XRF provides rapid, in situ, multielement geochemistry for immediate results in the field. This is useful for greenfield and brownfield exploration, ore grade and process control, environmental monitoring and remediation, and researching/teaching within the geological/environmental sciences. For battery metal exploration, portable XRF provides decision-quality data faster than traditional, lab-based XRF, and also enables more discriminatory laboratory sampling, helping reduce costs and improve ROI. With sample preparation, pXRF produces high-quality quantitative data that is comparable to laboratory analysis. Challenges with Analyzing Cobalt XRF is prone to inter-element interferences. Iron (Fe) on cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni) on cobalt (Co) are two common examples. This means that when a lot of iron is present, it becomes difficult for XRF to identify cobalt at low levels. Likewise, the presence of nickel also makes it difficult for XRF to ID cobalt. Unfortunately, cobalt is routinely explored for in the presence of significant amounts of iron and nickel. To solve this challenge, we developed a GeoChem method for Vanta™ pXRF analyzers that offers improved analysis for battery metals exploration by being able to detect cobalt in the presence of iron and nickel. This innovative method overcomes the interference that has historically made it very difficult for portable XRF analyzers to detect cobalt in the presence of these other elements. The method we developed for the Vanta analyzer is built on the current GeoChem method, but with a more sophisticated way of deconvoluting the iron/cobalt/nickel peaks. Before deploying this solution, we tested it on client samples to make sure that it produced good results. Test Results We analyzed 16 samples with high iron content—9% < Fe < 50%, 50 ≤ Co ≤ 6000 ppm, Ni < 500 ppm. We also analyzed 50 samples with a moderate amount of iron—0.5% < Fe < 15%, 16 < Ni < 8000 ppm, 50 ppm < Co < 2.3%. The samples were pulps in XRF cups, and they were analyzed using 60 seconds per beam with no corrections. The graphs below show excellent agreement between the results obtained from a lab and results obtained using a Vanta portable XRF analyzer, indicating that the modified GeoChem method can accurately detect the presence of cobalt when it’s in the presence of both large and moderate amounts of the interfering elements iron and nickel. Geologists now have another important tool that they can rely on when exploring for new sources of this vital element.
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