Win files bill for new natural gas sources; warns of power crisis in 2024

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Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a bill to help replace the depleting sources of natural gas from the Malampaya power project and help avert power outages in the near future.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate energy committee, filed Senate Bill No. 1819, which aims to provide a national policy and framework to develop and regulate the country’s midstream natural gas industry.

The senator proposed the measure citing pronouncements from Department of Energy officials that Malampaya’s production would go down from 3,400 megawatts to just 1,000 megawatts by 2024. Malampaya, the second biggest source of power in Luzon, has been supplying around 21 percent of the country’s power demand for close to two decades.

“We’re racing against time. If we fail to act now, we could be experiencing anew a debilitating rotational brownout by 2024 once our power supply from the Malampaya gas field is depleted,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Metro Manila and several provinces in the Luzon power grid experienced rotating brownouts of up to four hours daily back in the early 1990s due to insufficient electrical generating capacity.

The bill, if enacted into law, would cover the aspects of the midstream natural gas industry. These include the transportation, transmission, storage, and marketing of natural gas, whether in its original or liquefied form.

The midstream natural gas industry covers companies that specialize in operating tanker ships or marine vessels to deliver natural gas to LNG terminals, pipelines or transmission systems and storage facilities.

Several local and foreign companies have expressed interest in setting up facilities in the country, which include storage, regasification, and transmission.

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