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MPIC readies foray into gas business

Infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) plans to create synergies in its power companies through its foray into the gas business, which means the group will set up refineries and pipelines for the swift and cost-effective delivery of gas to customers.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, who chairs the conglomerate, said his group is currently studying how Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Philippine Coastal Storage & Pipeline Corp., and Global Business Power Corp. could complement each other in the gas business.

He explained that the country’s oil importation practices today opens up expansion opportunities for Coastal.

“That gives quite a lot of business to the Coastal but what it needs to do is to expand its network throughout the country and the key economic areas like, of course, Davao, Northern Mindanao, Cebu, and parts of Luzon,” he said.

Pangilinan noted that the previous owners of Coastal had plans to expand its pipeline network, but failed due to pressures from investors.

“They already have plans to expand elsewhere except that they were held back by their former owners who are private entity investors that are not willing to fund because they wish to get the cash dividends and to preserve the value of it rather than spending away — that’s not our attitude,” he said.

Pangilinan added: “We want to go to business and I think this is something that the country needs moving forward considering they have to import most if not all of our finished petroleum products.”

This, he said, ties up well with the group’s investment in Service Contract 72, the Recto Bank concession west of Palawan.

“We hope that SC 72 could get developed as an oil field and once it starts developing, we have to connect to Malampaya because we need the facilities to process the raw of gas then pipe it to Batangas and Meralco should get into gas plants whether it’s in Batangas, in Atimonan or in Subic.  We don’t know yet but I think we should get into the gas business and that’s how it ties up,” he said.

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