Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of Energy to review Duterte crony Dennis Uy’s debt-financed takeover of the Malampaya gas field due to his mounting cash problems in paying off the massive debts of his other businesses.
Gatchalian said Uy’s decision to drop his casino project in Clark Freeport Zone last week was a “red flag.”
“Paano natin mapagkakatiwalaan ang kumpanyang lubog sa utang?” said Gatchalian in a statement.
Gatchalian said the DOE should assess Uy’s financial capacity considering that he was buying 90 percent of Malampaya from Chevron and Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) by borrowing more money.
“Malampaya is no ordinary asset. We have to make sure that any transaction should go through a thorough review and due diligence by the government to assure the Filipino people that whoever is going to step in is highly qualified, competent, and can deliver electricity,” he added.
In a Senate hearing last July, Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) president and chief executive officer Rozzano Briguez told the committee that $375 million of the $565 million sale of Chevron to UC Malampaya Philippines Pte. Ltd., a unit of Uy’s Udenna Corp., was done through loans from three major banks. The remaining $157 million was sourced through the gas field’s “net entitlements” while $33 million came from the buyer’s stock issuance.
Last May, Shell Petroleum NV signed an agreement with Malampaya Energy XP Pte Ltd., a subsidiary of Udenna Corp., for the sale of its 100% shareholding in SPEX.
Gatchalian pointed out that the foreign banks that would bankroll Uy’s acquisition of SPEX’s Malampaya stake were allegedly the same set of lenders in his takeover of Chevron stake in March 2020.
PNOC-EC holds 10 percent in the Malampaya project which supplies close to 26 percent of the power needs in Luzon or about 3.7 million households.