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From Deal Street Asia

The Philippine unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Monday it was looking to launch a long-delayed initial public offering sometime next year, and may sell even more than the minimum requirement of 10 percent of common stock.

“We’re getting ready for it,” Shell Philippines country shairman Edgar Chua told reporters on the sidelines of a Shell event. “We’ve discussed it with the (Department of Energy), it’s just a question of timing.”

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp, which operates one of the country’s two refineries, is required under a nearly two-decade local law to conduct an IPO. The company had previously cited unfavourable market conditions and the need to upgrade its local refinery in deferring a share sale.

Shell’s refinery upgrade is underway and could be completed hopefully by the middle of November, Chua said.

The IPO proceeds could be used to pare debt or finance capital expenditure, he said.

Shell is also pursuing plans to set up a local LNG import facility and on Monday switched on a new offshore platform for its Malampaya natural gas production in the southwestern part of the Philippine archipelago.

The new Malampaya platform ensures that natural gas will continue to fuel three power plants supplying electricity to a third of the Southeast Asian country’s homes and businesses, said Sebastian Quinones, managing director at Shell Philippines Exploration BV (Spex).

Spex, operator of the Malampaya gas field, has a 45 percent stake in the gas-to-power project that fuels First Gen Corp’s 1,500 megawatt San Lorenzo and Santa Rita power plants, and the 1,200 MW Ilijan plant managed by San Miguel Corp’s unit SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.

Chevron holds 45 percent of the project, while state-owned Philippine National Oil Co has 10 percent.

Anglo-Dutch Shell announced in July job cuts, spending curbs and plans to raise $50 billion from asset sales between 2014 and 2018 after its second-quarter profit dropped by 37 percent and as oil prices are expected to stage only a modest recovery in the coming years.