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Solons seek contract extension of Malampaya natural gas project

Several lawmakers called for the contract extension of the Malampaya gas-to-power project in northwest Palawan to address an anticipated increase in future power demand.

The legislators filed House Resolution No. 1063 which calls for the implementation of national defense and security policies to attain independent and sustainable energy supply while focusing on extending the life of the Malampaya gas field. 

“Malampaya plays a vital role in energy security. Is it enough? That’s the question. Natural gas is very affordable and dependable. Energy independence would help us sustain our rapid development,” said PHILRECA party-list Rep. Presley De Jesus during the virtual Kapihan ng Samahang Plaridel with the theme “Energy Independence Crucial to National Security.”

Gas production from the Malamapaya project under Service Contract 38 is expected to start to be depleted in the next few years.  The Malampaya consortium led by Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. is asking the Department of Energy for an extension of the contract beyond 2024 to allow it to look for more gas prospects.  

APEC party-list Rep. Sergio C. Dagooc said there was a need to secure the country’s energy needs as the COVID pandemic exposed the country’s vulnerabilities to the global oil supply

“Energy security is a crucial factor in protecting and upholding our national sovereignty, so we can keep domestic economies running at full power,” said Dagooc, adding that COVID-19 showed that it would not be sustainable to keep relying on foreign fuel sources.

Dagooc said they filed the resolution “to review our energy policies, so we can transition to energy independence.”

Ako Padayon party-list Rep. Adriano Ebcas warned that unless the government quickly addressed all the energy issues and rising power demand, “the Philippines may face an acute power shortage.” Alena Mae S. Flores

“These power shortages can have far-reaching effects—from access to energy and high energy cost, to livelihood, education, and of course, national security,” Ebcas said.

Philippine Energy Independence Council director and SPEX manager Don Paulino said there was a need to fast-track the development of more energy resources.

“This country will have further growth, social mobility, and deeper impact on society if we have energy security and independence. Energy demand will increase as the Philippines continues to grow. We need two to three times the supply we have right now,” Paulino said.

“This brings opportunities—now we have an opportunity to develop our indigenous, renewable and clean energy and transition from coal. This will result in more efficient and affordable energy,” he said.

SPEX owns a 45-percent stake in the Malampaya gas project one of the most successful public-private partnership arrangements in the Philippines which proves the country’s potential for energy security and independence.

Rozzano Briguez, president of PNOC Exploration Corp. which owns a 10-percent stake in the Malampaya gas project, said the Philippines should fast-track the development of its energy supply.

“We envision exploring new oil and gas sources to augment our Malampaya reserves,” Briguez said.

Malamapaya powers 30 percent of the country with natural, indigenous gas and accounts for 98 percent of domestic oil and gas production.

Topics: Malampaya gas-to-power project , northwest Palawan
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