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15-year extension sought for Malampaya concession

PRIME Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (Prime Infra) said a 15-year extension has been sought for the Malampaya gas field concession, with additional gas production expected from a new well by 2026.

Prime Infra President and Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Lucci said in an energy forum on Wednesday that the extension application has been filed with the Department of Energy (DoE).

Prime Infra, through its subsidiary Prime Energy Resources Development BV (Prime Energy) is a member of the Malampaya consortium, which is exploiting Service Contract (SC) 38.

Prime Energy holds a 45% stake in the Malampaya project. The other members of the consortium, UC38 LLC and PNOC Exploration Corp., own a 45% and 10% interest, respectively.

The Malampaya concession is set to expire by 2024.

Michael O. Sinocruz, director for Energy Policy and Planning at the DoE, said it is currently difficult to determine the level of production in the Malampaya gas field.

“We are not yet sure, we will need to see the data that they will submit,” Mr. Sinocruz told reporters.

He said that the application to extend the SC 38 concession also covers possible exploration of the area surrounding Malampaya gas field before a determination can be made on estimated reserves.

The Malampaya gas field supplies 20% of the Philippines’ power requirements. The DoE has said that at least five power plants with a combined capacity of 3,453 megawatts are currently supplied by Malampaya.

The Malampaya gas field is expected to be commercially depleted by 2027. Mr. Lucci said that the depletion only pertains to the declining pressure in the Malampaya gas field.

Mr. Sinocruz said: “depletion by 2027 does not necessarily mean no gas. What it means is that when the pressure increases, it is easier to extract gas, but the pressure decreases over time, making it costly to extract gas.”

In November, Mr. Lucci said that Prime Energy is looking at additional gas fields within SC 38, with the possibility of drilling two or three more wells. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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