Solon calls for Senate inquiry on COVID-19 impact on PH oil, gas sector

Nido Petroleum Ltd. starts evaluation of project expansion

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is calling for a Senate inquiry to determine the effects of the implemented quarantine measures brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the gas and oil sector.

Gatchalian added that he thinks parts of the country with imposed enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) have affected upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas sectors which resulted in a drastic drop in global oil demand, according to a report.

The senator said that the Department of Energy (DOE) had announced at least 10 percent of 900 gasoline stations out of the 9,003 have already temporarily halted their operations since ECQ was imposed.

“Since the country is mainly dependent on imported fuel, Congress has to know about the short, medium, and long-term effects and implications of COVID-19 on the oil and gas industry, in particular, the status of oil and gas exploration projects towards energy security,” Gatchalian said in filing Senate Resolution No. 389.

Gatchalian added that lawmakers should know and be updated on the government’s plans to ensure the country’s energy security.

“Nakasalalay dito ang kapakanan nating lahat, lalo na’t kung walang sapat na enerhiya ay maraming maaantalang industriya na makakaapekto sa maraming trabaho (Everyone’s welfare is at stake here, especially if it means many jobs would be affected if industries do not have access to energy),” he shared.

The pandemic also postponed the opening of proposals to develop potential oil and gas sources in the Philippines due to logistical disruptions.

Gatchalian added that the imposed ECQ caused the delay of the proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import projects, which the DOE is expected to finalize within the year.