Gatchalian seeks LNG infrastructure to replace Malampaya gas field

Published May 19, 2021, 10:01 AM

by Mario Casayuran

A landmark energy legislation that will increase the country’s supply of natural gas from liquefied natural gas (LNG) sources has been placed for floor debates in the Senate.

The bill also seeks to avert possible energy security crisis from happening when operations of the Malampaya gas field project close for good in the near future.

“We could be facing a major energy crisis less than six years from now unless we find alternative sources to supply our country’s demand for natural gas,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in sponsoring Committee Report No. 255, or Senate Bill (SB) 2203.

SB 2203 seeks to put in place a national energy policy and framework for the development and regulation of the Philippine midstream natural gas industry.

“Ang kinatatakutan nating malawakang brownout sa Luzon ay maaaring mangyari kung tuluyan nang masaid ang isinusuplay ng Malampaya (A feared widespread brownout in Luzon might happen when the Malampaya gas field shuts down). Apektado dito hindi lang ang mga sambahayan kundi pati ang mga industriya na maaaring mag-iwan ng malaking puwang sa ekonomiya ng bansa (The power shortage would not only affect households but would leave a big hole in the country’s economy),” Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, emphasized.

Gatchalian said that the Philippines’ energy security depends largely on the available supply of natural gas especially in Luzon where more than a quarter of the island’s power source is sourced from the Malampaya gas field located off the coast of Palawan.

‘’Unfortunately its service contract is set to expire in 2024 and the estimated 858,834 million standard cubic feet remaining in the Malampaya field would be completely exhausted by the first quarter of 2027,’’ he pointed out.

Gatchalian underscored the necessity of enacting a legal and regulatory framework to be established by the Midstream Natural Gas Industry Development Act to unlock the untapped potential of natural gas, especially LNG to achieve greater Philippine energy stability, sustainability, and savings.

“LNG will unlock new potential for consumer power savings as natural gas steadily catches up to coal as the most cost-efficient dispatchable power source,” he said.