MVP downplays need for LNG import terminal

Malampaya gas can last 10 more years

By Myrna M. Velasco – February 27, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

Latching on assumptions that Malampaya can still yield gas after the lapse of the contract of the original developers in 2024, Manila Electric Company (Meralco) Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan indicated that the country’s energy sector may not really need to set up liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminal that soon.

Manuel V. Pangilinan

Manuel V. Pangilinan

He said the government must be transparent as to the extent of reserves that can still be extracted from the Malampaya reservoir post-2024, as even the Malampaya consortium already set forth prospects that the field will still have production in the next 10 years.

“Why do we need to import if we have our own gas reserves, we shouldn’t waste the country’s resources,” Pangilinan stressed.

At this stage, he opined that the most prudent step for the government is to firmly study the remaining potential of the country’s commercial gas field – and make that scale of reserves known to the public instead of taking a panicky approach on the installation of LNG import facility.

“Gas terminals mean we’re going to import gas…the question is: will it run out on that year? The contract will definitely expire in 2024 – that’s definite, but the gas resources, that’s entirely a different issue,” Pangilinan stated.

He primarily cited the recent pronouncement of Shell Philippines President Cesar G. Romero that the Malampaya field could still produce enough gas for the country’s existing power plants through years 2026-2030.

“So the real question now is: when will the gas really run out? Because when the contract expires in 2024, it does not necessarily mean that gas production will also come to an end,” Pangilinan noted.

He further asserted “everybody is assuming 2024, and my God it’s Armageddon, I don’t think that is true.”

Pangilinan thus prodded media to be more inquisitive as to when the Malampaya field will actually reach production wane, “because why do we need LNG terminal if there would still be gas there until 2030?”

The Pangilinan-led group had been among the investors that studied the potential of setting up LNG import terminal in the country as a replacement to the Malampaya gas, but with the recent declaration of relevant industry players, it is now taking a lukewarm stance on the LNG option.

The Meralco chairman averred “somebody has to step up and say: wait a minute, when will gas production really decline, so that should be asked and it must be published and the government must come up with a definitive statement.”