After two months and a half of waiting, the restriction of gas outputs from the Malampaya field in Palawan was finally lifted on Monday, giving a little more breathing room of reserves to the Luzon Grid.
Based on a Manila Bulletin report, the Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed the lifting of the gas restriction, which happened from March 31-June 13. Nonetheless, it remains the power sector’s “greatest mystery.”
The Malampaya gas restriction caused the derating of the Ilijan power plant from 1,200 megawatts (MW) down to just 716MW, which in turn contributed to the grid going on Red Alert two weeks ago.
DOE Electric Power Industry Management Bureau Director Mario Marasigan said that he has yet to reconcile the data his unit has received with that of his upstream gas bureau counterparts.
The department earlier explained that the gas restriction has nothing to do with Malampaya’s depleting supply.
“May [kailangang] sufficient level of pressure para umandar yung gas papunta sa mga planta, and pag na-u-utilize masyado yung gas, humihina parang sa balloon o sa tire pressure. Humihina yung ihip. It does not necessarily mean na affected yung reserves o kumokonti siya. It’s just na na-o-overwork o nagagamit masyado yung [natural gas] plants to the point na humihina minsan yung pressure niya,” Energy Usec. Felix William Fuentebella said at the DOE’s press briefing on the Red Alerts on May 31.
The DOE also had earlier planned to meet with gas sector stakeholders due to the restrictions, but the lifting already happened before the targeted date of the meeting was set.
Photo from Shell global website.