Gatchalian seeks development of PH natural gas industry
The Senate Committee on Energy will hold an inquiry on Thursday to discuss the steps needed to develop and regulate the Philippine natural gas industry.
Senator Win Gatchalian, chair of the committee, said the hearing was aimed at creating “stronger legal frameworks” to improve the country’s downstream natural gas sector, especially with the 2024 expiration of the Malampaya gas field’s franchise.
“There is a need to clarify the government’s policy on our natural gas resources given the complexity of the industry, the current lack of an institutionalized regulatory framework, and the need to replace the fuel sources of existing natural gas plants,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Malampaya Gas-to-Power Project supplies fuel to three natural gas plants with a total capacity of 2,700 megawatts (MW), comprising 17.85 percent of the Luzon grid’s capacity, and 12.49 percent of the national grid.
Malampaya also supplied 53 percent of the Manila Electric Corporation’s (Meralco) demand for March 2018.
Previous reports have noted the dwindling Malampaya supply, which could be depleted in 10 years. People from the public and the private sectors have called on the government to explore other natural gas deposits such as the Recto Bank located at the West Philippine Sea.
Gatchalian added that foreign investments are needed to improve the industry as natural gas is an important supply of energy for the country. The Department of Energy (DOE) also plans to turn the country into a liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub.
Representatives from DOE, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Power Corporation (Napocor), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) were invited as resource persons for the hearing on Thursday, the senator said. /ee
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