DOE wants comprehensive gas pipeline study before securing NEDA approval

by Myrna Velasco, 18 July 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) will be requiring the consultant in the feasibility study for the planned 105-kilometer Batangas-Manila gas pipeline project to provide more comprehensive details on its propounded implementation framework.

This was indicated by DOE officer-in-charge Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada as she noted that some questions may be raised when they will secure the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) investment coordination committee and the board for the proposed facility.

She said the project cost component shall be re-assessed; and also the ‘spur lines’ that shall connect other prospective end-users, such as the industrial locators at areas where the pipeline will traverse at economic zones in Batangas and Laguna.

Monsada explained that while a power plant will be the pipeline facility’s anchor load, there should be wider base of end-users that must be presented in the study to justify the project’s viability.

The portended fuel shift use of the transport sector to gas is also being set into the equation by the government.

The energy department has long envisioned that non-power users will be part of the development plan of the pipeline that shall be offered to private investors through a bidding that shall be spearheaded by state-run Philippine National Oil Company.

The Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center previously tapped Dutch firm Rebel Group International B.V. to conduct the FS for the long-delayed gas pipeline venture. Upon the study’s completion, the output was submitted to the energy department.

In initial cost estimates drawn up from previous studies, it was noted that the gas pipeline may require investment of $150 million to $170 million.

It was similarly indicated that among the major concerns to be addressed in the project’s implementation would be right-of-way (ROW) issues because the entire chain would be passing through several barangays and communities.

An earlier study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has emphasized that there would be a need “to move illegal people in the railways” – and this will require the government and the project-sponsors to obtain endorsements from all municipalities.