The life of the Philippines' Malampaya natural gas field, which had been projected by the government to run dry by 2027, can be extended for several more years, the president of Udenna Corp, which now controls the project, said on Monday.
"We are very confident we can prolong this project even further. Certainly, there's a lot of years to come that the well can still be very productive," Udenna President Marty Escalona said in an interview with ANC news channel.
The remaining 10% interest in the Malampaya consortium is still held by PNOC Exploration Corp, a unit of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company.
The Malampaya gas project, which began commercial operations in 2001, fuels power plants that deliver about a fifth of the Southeast Asian country's electricity requirements.
While Escalona declined to specify how many more years Malampaya can be operated to continue producing gas, he said a technical study for further drilling was in place and that the technical staff from Chevron and Shell for Malampaya's operations has been retained.
"The technical expertise is there," he said, responding to a challenge from senators for Udenna to show its technical capability to operate Malampaya.
"The intention is to be able to develop this well further, to maximize the reserves that are there, and continue the drilling process that will enable Malampaya to survive in the years to come," Escalona said.
A Senate inquiry had been launched into questions over Udenna's technical and financial ability to operate the project and the soundness of the Department of Energy's financial evaluation of the buyer.
Both Udenna and the DOE have defended the Malampaya deals.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz Editing by Ed Davies)