The Malampaya Deep Water Gas-To-Power Project heralded the birth of the natural gas industry in the Philippines in 2001. Since then, it has benefitted the country in many ways—contributing billions of pesos in government revenue share, and most importantly, providing a stable supply of cleaner energy and supplying up to 30 percent of the country’s energy requirements.

Its latest stage, the Malampaya Phase 3 (MP3) project—implemented by Shell Philippines Exploration BV on behalf of the Malampaya joint venture partners— involves the design, fabrication and installation of a new depletion compression platform (DCP).

Early this year, the MP3 platform has been towed from its fabrication site in Subic Bay and installed beside the existing Malampaya platform in the West Philippine Sea, near Palawan. It is the first offshore gas platform to be built in the Philippines, and MP3’s local fabrication contractor, Keppel Subic Shipyard, constructed a 1,500-ton gantry crane— the tallest of its kind in Southeast Asia—to execute the critical heavy-lift activities.

Most notably, the MP3 platform is designed to float, and an inbuilt jacking system will enable the 80-meter legs to be jacked down to lift the platform from the water into its final position. This remarkable “self-installing” technology avoids the need for large, specialized vessels that are normally required for offshore platform installation.

Laying the foundation for the installation of the DCP’s legs also required transporting 41,000 tons of rock from a quarry site in Angono, shipping it out of Luzon via the Batangas port, and installing it on the seafloor. While the task involved numerous challenges, the work was achieved with zero injuries, which demonstrate Shell’s utmost commitment to safety, implementing operations without fatalities or incidents and with Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) as the highest priority.

World-class Filipino engineering talent

While Shell prioritized the use of locally available resources, the project is nevertheless a worldwide effort that brings into the country expertise, equipment and technical components from over 20 countries across America, Europe and Asia. The multinational team includes specialists from Britain, Malaysia, Netherlands and Belgium, to name a few—all of whom came to the Philippines to help Filipinos create a world-class legacy.

In turn, the capacity and capability of Filipino talent has been enhanced to world-class standards, with such programs as the Malampaya Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Training Centre, which has so far enhanced the skills of over 9,000 Filipino workers to levels required by the global oil and gas industry.

MP3 has provided over 1,400 direct new jobs for Filipinos and generated more business for local companies supporting the project.

The progress is apparent not only for specialized workers, but for ordinary citizens in the communities that MP3 operates in. The Malampaya Foundation Inc. (MFI) has been implementing strategic social investment programmess in Subic, Zambales that include livelihood trainings, road safety and disaster response education. These programmes are aimed enabling locals to uplift and empower their lives long after the MP3 project is completed.

Like the rest of the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project, MP3 has definitely become a symbol of pride for the Filipino nation with all these notable achievements.

In the long term, it is seen to enable the Philippines to compete for future oil and gas projects both regionally and globally.