Shell Companies in the Philippines has urged the Aquino administration to lay down the necessary programs and infrastructure that would allow investments in natural gas projects to be more lucrative and attractive to prospective investors.
In an industry forum, Shell president Edgar O. Chua cited a few recommendations that could help the country’s push for a more aggressive use of natural gas for both power and transport.
Chua noted the need to put up a one-stop shop for the natural gas industry; establish gas quality standards; provide tax incentives for the “early switchers,”and fast-track the required critical infrastructure such as the $2.1-billion Batangas-Manila (BatMan 1) natural gas pipeline project and transmission lines.
Shell is conducting a feasibility study that will look into the viability of putting up an LNG terminal hub near its refinery in Tabangao, Batangas. Should Shell push through with the project, the company will need to invest about $1 billion.
The Department of Energy, for its part, is now preparing to draft a natural gas master plan that will harmonize all the planned natural gas infrastructure by the private sector, including those by Shell, First Gen Corp. (which is building a $2.3-billion natural gas portfolio of power plants and terminal) and the state-run Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC).
“We need to harmonize all these plans. We won’t kill the plans of the private sector. I would like to see the natural gas master plan completed in 12 months’ time,” said Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla.
In a briefing following yesterday’s forum, Petilla explained that the master plan would cover a number of issues, policies and other concerns, including proposals put forward by Shell, noting that the Department of Energy would support anything that could encourage more energy players in the country.
The government is embarking on its own natural gas project—the BatMan 1 pipeline project—as it is bent on pursuing the massive use of alternative fuels given the current global oil price volatility.