Midstream natural gas bill reaches Senate floor
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to create a legal and regulatory framework for the development and regulation of the midstream natural gas industry reached the Senate floor on Tuesday for plenary deliberations.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate energy committee, endorsed for plenary approval Senate Bill No. 2203 or the proposed Midstream Natural Gas Industry Development Act.
The bill is contained under Committee Report No. 255, which was signed by 12 senators.
In sponsoring the measure, Gatchalian stressed the importance of natural gas supply in the country’s energy security.
“Natural gas is poised to play an important role in promoting Philippine energy security, sustainability, and consumer savings in the coming years and decades,” he said.
“However, the question remains: How will we be able to source our natural gas needs after Malampaya meets its inevitable end?” he added.
He pointed out that despite the prominence of natural gas in the country’s energy mix, the Malampaya Gas Field located off the coast of Palawan is the only natural gas field operating in the Philippines.
However, the Malampaya service contract is set to expire in 2024, the senator noted.
“Even if the service contract is extended, the Department of Energy projects that the estimated 858,834 million standard cubic feet remaining in the Malampaya field as of September 30, 2020, would be completely exhausted by the first quarter of 2027,” he added.
“This implies that we could be facing a major energy crisis less than six years from now unless we find alternative sources to supply Philippine demand for natural gas,” he further said.
Gatchalian said there is a need to explore and extract new natural gas fields found in Philippine waters and the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“In our experience, however, it may take several years for new gas fields to become commercially viable,” he said.
“Thus, it would be wise of us to diversify and complement our natural gas supply through alternative means while continuing to develop potential indigenous sources,” he added.
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