Published June 7, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
The next big agenda for the Philippine energy sector will be an envisioned hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility, that will not only cater to the gas needs of the country but also of the entire Southeast Asian region.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi laid this down in his speech during the ‘’GE: Powering the PH Forum,” in which he noted that while it is a “grand dream”, the country could have advantages in hosting such facility because of the Philippines’ strategic location.
“Our study became a little bigger when we saw that the Philippines can be the LNG hub and we would want to give it a shot,” the energy chief said.
He added that the Philippines “already failed in a vision – being the hub for other industries despite our geographical advantage and location – same thing that happened in maritime, so this is probably an opportunity for us…it is a dream, but we are pushing for it.”
Initial steps for the country’s gas market reset, Cusi said, would be the development of a common LNG receiving and distribution infrastructure as part of the “clean energy city” which is under the tutelage of state-run Philippine National Oil Company,
In a roundtable media discussion alongside the event, Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian indicated that at the re-opening of Congressional session, they would be working on legislative frameworks that will support the advancement of the country’s gas industry post-Malampaya.
“We would be tackling various legislative measures that will talk about LNG…and to hasten the development of the LNG industry here in our country, we would really need to put the framework in place,” the lawmaker stressed.
Focus of the proposed LNG or gas industry legislation, according to Gatchalian, would be on regulation of key components – such as the pipeline as well as the propounded import terminal.
“These are the things that I would be working on with the DOE (Department of Energy) in terms of having the framework in place,” the senator stressed.
Gatchalian emphasized there would likely be high interest among investors, “but we really need to speed up the industry itself…we need to give some development either through incentives and other frameworks – and that calls for legislation.”
With the envisaged LNG hub or the next round of gas infrastructure investments, Cusi noted that the wobbly scenarios being experienced by the country during Malampaya shutdown could already be rendered “a thing of the past.”
He admitted though that to concretize the LNG hub dream, the department has a lot of ‘to-do items’ yet on the roll – which the energy chief would be mandating his team and state-run PNOC to work on.