As an innovator of sustainable energy solutions, Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) was recently conferred the 2021 Europa Award for Clean and Efficient Energy by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). The special award recognizes the sustainability business leader who had best incorporated the use of clean and efficient energy practices in its day-to-day operations while at the same time supporting the government’s thrust to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030 to help in climate change mitigation as stipulated in the Paris Agreement of 2016.
“This is another feather in our cap, and we extend our utmost gratitude to the ECCP for recognizing SPEX as a champion of sustainability in the Philippines,” SPEX Engineering and Projects Manager Rhea Abigail Navarro said during the virtual awarding ceremony held recently. “We remain committed to our vision of providing the Philippines clean and efficient energy sources that will help the planet, power the nation, and empower our people.”
According to one of the award jurors, Ambassador H. E. Luc Veron, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, “The Europa awards exist to recognize Filipino companies with exceptional contributions to sustainability in line with the Philippine Development Plan and global standards. Sustainability requires a whole-of-society approach. We all must act now to protect the environment and to boost the green economy.”
PH natural gas industry pioneer
The Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project (Malampaya), operated by SPEX, signaled the birth of the Philippine natural gas industry, ultimately becoming a symbol of the country’s journey towards energy self-sufficiency. As the longest-running energy company in the Philippines, the Malampaya harnessed indigenous natural gas to reduce oil imports, contribute to better air quality, and generate significant revenues for the local government amounting to US$B12 or over PHP 1 trillion.
Since October 2001, Malampaya continues to power up to 20% of the country’s electricity. It has also made Luzon’s air cleaner since natural gas emits 30-50% fewer air emissions compared to coal, fuel oil, or diesel in electricity generation. All these legacy and contributions make it one of the country’s most successful Public-Private Partnerships.
Champion of sustainability
Sustainability efforts have greatly enhanced the social and environmental impact of Shell through Malampaya. Aside from generating excellent shareholder value, Malampaya has also positively and significantly impacted many communities in the Philippines by staying true to its core values of empowering people and taking care of the environment. It has established and is conducting various conservation efforts through its social development arms, the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), Malampaya Foundation Inc. (MFI), and Mindoro Biodiversity Conservation Inc. (MBCFI).
“Sustainability has always been at the core of Shell. It is ingrained in our operations and business framework. We have always seen to it that sustainability is part of our planning process and not just something to do midway or as an afterthought,” Navarro said.
This business approach was affirmed by ECCP Vice President Lars Wittig who said, “It is no longer business as usual. Sustainability cannot just be a slogan; rather it should be the standard. There is a paradigm shift taking place. Our current expectation of sustainable corporate practices is transitioning from the sole responsibility of CSR teams to that of the entire organization.”
Shell has been championing sustainable energy through its Access to Energy (A2E) initiative, which helped bring power to communities in Northern Palawan, including the Batak tribe, Sitio Binaluan in Taytay, and El Nido. It installed renewable energy systems through the use of local natural resources such as solar and hydro. A2E connected homes in far-flung villages to microgrids. Before this, residents relied on candles to keep their homes lit. Today, 70 members of the community have been trained in solar lamp assembly and basic electrical installation; and 878 individuals now enjoy 24/7 power in five remote indigenous areas.
Malampaya also led the fight against malaria in Palawan through the Movement Against Malaria campaign. In 1999, there were 54,000 cases and 99 deaths. By 2018, there was a 92% decrease in cases and a 99% decrease in deaths. To date, over 12 million Filipinos have benefitted from this program. Additionally, Malampaya helped 1,600 unemployed individuals and out-of-school youths from Palawan, Mindoro, Subic, and Batangas through the Bridging Employment through Skills Training (BEST) program by providing them with opportunities to learn vocational skills. Shell also advocated for sustainable farming in El Nido through the Palawan Eco Agro Park.
By Filipinos, for Filipinos
In 2015, Malampaya made another first for the Philippines. Harnessing local pride, talent, and passion, it mobilized over 1,500 Filipino workers to design, build, and construct its second offshore platform. This approach further emphasized Malampaya as “by Filipinos, for Filipinos.”
Fast forward to the present. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Malampaya continues to power the country 24/7 and provide humanitarian assistance during this crisis through a program called Para sa Bayani: a 3-pronged approach that empowered 4,000 farmers to sell their products which otherwise would have been stranded due to the community lockdowns; fed 500,000 frontliners and vulnerable members of the community, and provided much-needed PPEs for medical frontliners.
This latest recognition from the ECCP is a testament to SPEX’s unwavering commitment to sustainability and its innovative and pioneering spirit serving the Filipino nation.
“Malampaya may be an energy company, but what it really does is power a country and its people towards progress. A company by Filipinos and for Filipinos is definitely here to stay,” SPEX External Relations Manager Paulo Gavino said. Navarro added, “May we all strive to create a better world anchored on best practices in sustainability and leave a legacy for the next generation.”