By Myrna M. Velasco
With concerns sounded off by the operator of the country’s Malampaya gas production facility, the Department of Energy (DOE) indicated that it is coordinating with Malacanang and the law enforcement agencies – primarily the Philippine National Police (PNP) — on easing restrictions that hobble the operation of the gas field.
The operational predicaments raised by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) include “access restriction of critical operational and engineering staff and contractors, including vehicles used for transport purposes in the National Capital Region,” according to the energy department.
The other concerns delve with the continuation of operations of supply base in Batangas port; the marine supply vessels and other vessels that berth in Palawan and Batangas; as well as the need for unhindered crew change cycles of offshore personnel underpinning operations at the Malampaya platform.
Within the month-long quarantine enforced for Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, the Malampaya gas field is among the critical energy facilities that shall be assured of unimpeded operations given that it is the fuel source of roughly 3,211 megawatts of gas-fired electric generating facilities in the county.
At this stage, the energy department said it also sought arrangements with relevant local government units “to exempt the delivery of goods and the movement of SPEX’s personnel from the lockdown, given the major role of Malampaya in providing power supply to the Luzon grid.”
The chaotic coordination between the various executive departments of the government, the law enforcement agencies that have been manning checkpoints as well as the LGUs have resulted in hampered deliveries of vital energy commodities and services in the past days.
Confusion likewise ensued in the movement of key personnel comprising the work force of critical energy facilities – such as in oil retail networks, storage facilities and refineries; as well as in power plants.
For the Malampaya field, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said “we call on for the full support of various government agencies, as well as our service contractors, as we fulfill our mandate to provide reliable power services to our people.”’
The energy chief noted that the energy department “is always open and ready to address all the concerns of our stakeholders.”
As of yesterday players in the energy sector are still complaining about the lack of systematic coordination among relevant government agencies; and the baffling dearth of comprehension of people on the ground as to how the country could suffer if energy services and commodities would not be allowed to move seamlessly.