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Malampaya deal auction is shelved.

MANILA: The Philippines has shelved plans to auction a contract to drill oil from its Malampaya gasfield while it considers other options.

This will further delay production from the site till early 2010, a senior official said yesterday.

Manila spooked investors last year when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo voided a deal allowing Malaysia's Mitra Energy to hold talks with the state-run PNOC Exploration Corporation about drilling Malampaya together.

The contract was then meant to be auctioned out and had attracted local and foreign investor interest but PNOC Exploration's president said that Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes now wanted to look at other ways of developing the oil rim.

Reyes was considering offering the project to a consortium led by a unit of energy giant Shell, which currently runs the gasfield.

"One of the options being considered is to invite the original consortium to do it because that is the most efficient way," Rafael del Pilar said.

"We have scheduled a meeting so we can make a presentation to the energy secretary," he added.

Malampaya, which supplies natural gas to three large power plants, is the country's biggest hydrocarbon discovery, supplying all of its natural gas.

The Philippines, wants to develop the Malampaya oil reserves - estimated at seven to eight million barrels per day - to cut its $6 billion plus annual oil import bill.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 1, 2008
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