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Prime Infra unit forms advisory council for Malampaya programs

PRIME Infrastructure Capital, Inc. has formed an advisory council and tapped technical experts for the exploration and development programs of the offshore Malampaya gas-to-power project.

Prime Infra through its subsidiary Prime Energy Resources Development B.V. said the new council will provide strategic and technical advice to extend the gas supply of the Malampaya gas field.

“The new advisory council will provide strategic advice and technical guidance to support me and the Board in this critical time when the company’s exploration and development programs are about to commence to prolong the gas supply, which is becoming increasingly scarce,” said Prime Energy General Manager Sebastian C. Quiniones, Jr. in a media release on Tuesday.

Mr. Quiniones said the board will also craft necessary measures and coordinate with authorities for the implementation of its plan.

Prime Energy holds a 45% stake in the Malampaya project, with UC38 LLC and state-led PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) holding 45% and 10%, respectively. They are the contractors for Service Contract 38, their agreement with the government covering the deepwater project off Palawan island.

Prime Energy said the Malampaya consortium and the Department of Energy (DoE) had agreed to the creation of the advisory council as the Malampaya gas field is expected to be depleted by 2027. It said that by 2025 to 2026, “gas exports will reach near technical minimum before new gas can be sourced.”

Prime Energy said the members of the advisory panel will include Cesar A. Buenaventura, an independent director at Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., and Jose C. Ibazeta, a director of Prime Metro Power Holdings Corp. who served as president and chief executive officer of Power Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. and DoE secretary from January to May 2010.

Rufino B. Bomasang, former president and chief executive of PNOC-EC, will also be part of the council together with Antoine Bliek, former Shell project manager for the Malampaya project’s second and third phases, and Jose Jerome R.  Pascual III, former Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. finance director.

Prime Energy gave its assurance that it is “well equipped” to execute projects and extract gas from the reservoirs in the Malampaya project.

“The Prime Infra group supports Prime Energy in other areas such as project financing, supply chain and logistics, human resources, and government and external relations,” it said, adding that its energy portfolio is aligned with the government’s goal of energy security.

The Malampaya project supplies about 20% of the country’s total power requirements and 27% of the Luzon grid. Five power plants with a combined capacity of 3,453 megawatts are currently supplied by its natural gas.

The Malampaya concession agreement is set to expire next year. Prime Infra earlier said that it would seek necessary measures to extend the contract.

Last month, the DoE announced that the Malampaya project is scheduled for maintenance shutdown between Feb. 4 and 18. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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