Since 2001, the Malampaya project has been producing cleaner-burning natural gas for three power plants at Batangas, on the country’s largest and most populous island of Luzon. The power plants have a combined generating capacity of 2,700 megawatts – enough to meet up to 30% of Luzon’s electricity needs, or about 20% of the country’s total electricity requirements.
Shell successfully completed Malampaya Phase 2 in 2013, which added two new production wells. Malampaya Phase 3 saw the design, fabrication and installation of a new depletion compression platform to maintain levels of gas production, which began operating in October 2015. This was the first oil and gas platform to be designed and built in the Philippines, and its successful completion has made the country a player in construction for the oil and gas industry.
The project extracts natural gas and condensate from the depths of the Palawan Basin. A nearby shallow-water production platform processes the gas and exports it through a 504-km (313-mile) underwater pipeline to a gas plant on shore. This processes the gas further and sends it to three power plants in Batangas.
In February 2015, Shell towed the Malampaya Phase 3 depletion compression platform from its construction yard out into the West Philippine Sea, where self-installation technology lowered its 80-metre legs, positioning it next to the existing platform. Self-installation takes away the need for large vessels specialising in offshore platform installation. Most importantly, its use on Malampaya Phase 3 minimised interruption to gas production.
Both platforms are designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, a challenge unique to this region.
Watch the film: Standing firm in the Ring of Fire
Environment and society
The flow of indigenous natural gas from the West Philippine Sea is helping to fuel the Philippines’ economic growth and progress. Shell supports health improvement, livelihood generation programmes and environmental conservation efforts through its partner foundations in Palawan, Oriental Mindoro and Batangas.
In 2002, the United Nations Environmental Programme and the International Chamber of Commerce selected the Malampaya project for the World Summit Business Award for Sustainable Development in Partnerships. The project was rewarded for achieving a careful balance of social, environmental and economic components during its development.
Pilipinas Shell Foundation, the social arm of Shell in the Philippines, works with the province of Palawan to implement a USAID programme called Movement Against Malaria in more than 300 villages on Palawan island. The programme has set up centres in each village to provide early diagnosis and prompt treatment of malaria.
Beyond providing power for large cities and industries, the Malampaya project aims to bring sustainable and affordable energy to communities least likely to be connected to the grid. Pilipinas Shell Foundationhas also put in place a micro-grid using hydropower and solar energy to power the village of Kalakwasan on Palawan island. The village is home to the Batak indigenous people. Today all homes in Kalakuasan are powered by the mini-grid and tribesmen are trained to operate and maintain the system.
Watch the film: Lighting lives in the deep forest
Malampaya is located in one of the most biologically diverse areas of the world, known as the Coral Triangle. Its waters are important for biodiversity and vital for the livelihoods of many local villages which depend on them for fishing. But the species-rich waters and corals are under threat from natural phenomena such as storms, illegal fishing and over-fishing. The Malampaya Foundation, the project’s social arm set up by the joint venture partners, is working with communities to help manage and restore their local marine resources and enhance livelihoods.
Building local skills and expertise
Malampaya Phase 3 included the first offshore platform to be designed and built completely in the Philippines, and brought new technical expertise into the country. Shell is helping to raise project expertise to world-class levels in the long term, enabling the Philippines to compete for future oil and gas projects regionally and globally.
The third project phase has provided more than 1,200 new jobs for Filipinos, generated business for local companies, and is improving the skills of local workers. More than 90% of those operating the platform are Filipinos.
Poor and unemployed young adults from local communities can gain skills for jobs in areas such as welding, pipe-fitting, and construction as part of a vocational training programme run by the Malampaya Foundation. The programme, called Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST), links trainees with industries in need of skilled workers. Since 2007 more than 4,000 young adults have graduated from this programme, 80% of whom have found work in the Philippines or abroad.
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