Government urged to develop natural gas industry

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Government urged to develop natural gas industry
Fisherfolk hold a protest in the waters of Batangas City on April 22, Earth Day to denounce the expansion of fossil gas plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the area.
Mara Manuel for Center for Energy, Ecology and Development

MANILA, Philippines — Developing the country’s natural gas industry is critical to driving investments that will enhance national energy security, reduce electricity costs and create more jobs for Filipinos, according to the Senate committee on energy technical working group.

During the TWG meeting on Senate Bill 2247, Gareth Tungol, special legal counsel of Sen. Raffy Tulfo, said that developing the country’s natural gas industry would open up a larger market share for investors as government policy shifts toward clean energy.

“When it comes to those who will use fuel for gas-fired power plants, my gas will come first if my gas comes from here, right? We are not prioritizing blindly; we are prioritizing Filipino gas first. That is our policy because we believe that the first step should not be importation,” Tungol, who presided over the TWG meeting on behalf of Tulfo.

“I think that is the best driver of our investment because instead of them investing in importation, they invest in facilities, in infrastructures. So there is work plus there is foreign investment,” he added.

Senate Bill 2247 authored by Tulfo seeks to promote the development of a comprehensive and integrated legislative policy that aids in the rapid development of the country’s natural gas sector.

The urgency of the bill’s passage arises from the critical need to extend the life of Malampaya gas, which provides about 40 percent of the country’s natural energy needs since 2001.

The TWG also noted that the bill added “priority” dispatch for indigenous natural gas to encourage more investments in the development of indigenous gas resources.

The Department of Energy (DOE) was present during the TWG meeting and has expressed its support for the development of the country’s natural gas industry, which also aims to promote growth in the power generation industry.

Tungol also said that using coal is “a lot more ecologically damaging” and more expensive than natural gas.

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