Phoenix sets sights on Southeast Asian expansion with Indonesian deal
Dennis Uy-led Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. will partner with a subsidiary of Indonesia’s state-owned oil and gas company for “fuel product supply and other trading activities” between the two countries.
In a disclosure to the stock market, Phoenix said it would enter into a strategic partnership with Pertamina International Marketing and Distribution Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based subsidiary of state-owned PT Pertamina Indonesia. The listed firm said this was part of its growth plans in Southeast Asia.
The Singapore office opened in 2019, marking the return of Pertamina to the city-state after its previous office there was shut down in 2015 following efforts by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to clean up the country’s oil and gas sector.
According to a 2019 Reuters report, the former managing director of Pertamina’s Singapore office was charged by an Indonesian anticorruption government agency for allegedly accepting bribes from a Singapore-based company to secure oil trading deals.
The same report said the newly minted Singapore unit planned to sell bunker fuel and enter retail fuel markets in the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar and also trade liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in the region.On the other hand, Phoenix—led by the Davao businessman who is a known donor of President Duterte’s campaign—has been expanding its commercial footprint in Southeast Asia over the years.
In 2017, Phoenix acquired Malaysian firm Petronas Dagangan Berhad’s LPG business. Last year, Phoenix acquired a 75-percent stake in Origin Energy Vietnam, which was renamed Phoenix Gas Vietnam.
Phoenix also previously partnered with the largest offshore oil and gas producer in China, China National Offshore Oil Corp.
However, Phoenix’s plan to put up a liquefied natural gas import terminal in the Philippines was suspended last year after parent firm Udenna Corp. acquired a 45-percent stake in the Malampaya natural gas consortium.
Aside from assets in the energy sector, Phoenix has also acquired the Philippine franchise of Japanese convenience store chain FamilyMart. It has also ventured into the asphalt business with PhilAsphalt Development Corp. and Thailand’s Tipco Asphalt.