Sen. Gatchalian eyes re-study of country’s policy on natural gas resources

Malampaya gas field| Image from TECHLiFT Facebook page
  • Gatchalian is seeking clarification on the country’s policy on natural gas sector
  • The senator said there is a need to improve and develop the current regulatory framework
  • Gatchalian filed the resolution ahead of Malampaya franchise’s expiration in 2024

MANILA, Philippines  –  Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, is seeking clarification on the government’s existing policy on the country’s natural gas policy ahead of Malampaya gas field franchise’s expiration in 2024.

Gatchalian said his  Senate Resolution 699, which paved the way for the Senate to conduct committee hearing starting Thursday, is aimed at improving the current regulatory framework on the country’s downstream natural gas industry, among others.

“There is a need to clarify the government’s policy on our natural gas resources given the complexity of the industry, the current lack an institutionalized regulatory framework, and the need to replace the fuel sources of existing natural gas plants,” said Gatchalian in a statement.

The neophyte senator, who in January initiated the alleged misuse of Malampaya fund, filed the resolution last March 21.

Gatchalian noted the Malampaya Gas-to-Power Project supplies fuel to three natural gas plants with a total installed capacity of 2,700 MW, comprising 17.85% of the installed capacity of the Luzon grid, and 12.49% of the installed capacity of the national power grid.

These served a significant 53 percent of Meralco’s electricity demand for March 2018 billing, he said.

The lawmaker cited the Department of Energy’s (DOE) target of making the Philippines a liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub, which all the more should drive the country to develop the industry in hopes of attracting more investors.

Among those invited to attend the public hearing as resource persons are representatives from the DOE, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).