Public interest prevails

“The resource-rich area called the Camago-Malampaya field still has unexplored regions which are as large as the current production field.

There is a fresh attempt to again frustrate the strategic rejuvenation of the Malampaya natural gas field which brings into mind the natural competition from the importation of liquefied natural gas and the interests which have been frustrated since the previous administration.

They are now being represented by a discredited former head of the Philippine National Oil Corp. who was booted out of his position for pushing an agreement that the Supreme Court recently ruled as unconstitutional.

The Department of Energy has heeded the call from the consortium running the vital energy resource about the narrow window to keep it productive.

The backers of the domestic detractors are no pushovers who include a multimillionaire Filipino American based in New York who has been supporting a prospective West Philippine Sea operation near the Malampaya field.

The Department of Energy’s swift action on the Malampaya gas project, a 30 percent source of fuel for major power plants that keep the Luzon grid grinding to make the economy work for all, is hailed as a move to strengthen energy security.

DoE approval late last year of the transfer of operations of the Malampaya field to Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc. was not only timely but also crucial and so was the decision last week of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to extend Service Contract 38 that covers the Malampaya field.

Industry groups said the moves of Marcos’s administration on the energy sector showed recognition of the urgency to keep the gas field running safely and at high levels of reliability.

The project will continue to rely on talents that have kept the natural gas field operating steadily for more than 20 years.

Prime Energy has committed to bringing in more talented individuals to reinforce the top-notch team of Shell Philippines Exploration BV, who were all retained under the new structure.

Stakeholders have hailed the quick and resolute actions now characterizing the Marcos administration especially after President Marcos stressed the urgency of energy security and infrastructure development.

The leadership’s emphasis on energy security, in turn, not only drove quick action from the DoE but generated an unprecedented level of interest among foreign investors.

President Marcos’ signing of the extension of SC 38 was the ultimate show of his agenda to maintain the project as key to the pursuit of a stable energy supply as the economy grows at a pace that is among the fastest in the world.

The resource-rich area called the Camago-Malampaya field still has unexplored regions which are as large as the current production field.

The supposed experts are hurling brickbats at the proverbial fruit-bearing tree, proposing a government takeover that will reverse all the gains in the project.

The government also needed to spend $200 million or P11 billion of public funds that could otherwise be used for more productive endeavors to efficiently run the gas field.

Reverse privatization turns off major foreign investors who are now flocking to put up projects in the country after several visits abroad of the President.

No sovereign property is threatened as the government continues to own the Malampaya resources even as it allows the private sector to run it.

The key phrase is public-private partnership and not expropriation which the detractors wanted for their sinister agenda.

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