House Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel has high hopes for the Sampaguita gas field which he called the “next Malampaya.”
“There’s no question the development of the Sampaguita gas discovery in Recto Bank (formerly Reed Bank) is vital to our long-term energy security,” Pimentel said.
According to the Mindanao solon, Sampaguita’s private developers plan to build a shorter subsea pipeline (from Sampaguita) to Malampaya, and then Malampaya’s existing 504-kilometer, 24-inch pipeline would be used to deliver all the gas to landfall in Batangas.
“There’s definitely a lot of gas in Sampaguita, possibly more than Malampaya. The developers just need to drill a few more wells to figure out the best way to get the gas out,” he said.
The Sampaguita gas field is located some 250 kilometers southwest of the Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project in northwest Palawan.
Weatherford Petroleum Consultants estimate Sampaguita to contain “2.6 trillion cubic feet of in-place contingent resources and 5.5 trillion cubic feet of in-place prospective resources.”
The now 19-year-old Malampaya gas-to-power project still generates up to 3,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity for the Luzon grid.
However, Department of Energy (DoE) officials told a congressional hearing that by 2024, Malampaya’s gas output would fall to just one-third of current capacity or roughly 1,100 MW.
Meanwhile, Pimentel cited President Duterte’s “bold decision” to lift the five-year-old moratorium on gas exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea, which he said has resulted in securing the country’s future as far as energy needs are concerned.
Sampaguita lies in Service Contract (SC) 72, which is among the beneficiaries of the lifting of the moratorium on gas exploration.
The Aquino administration in December 2015 placed all gas and oil exploration activities around the Recto Bank area under force majeure on account of international maritime issues.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has since ruled that Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.