PNOC seeks approval of alternate routes for Bat-Man natural gas pipeline

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, Sept. 28 (PNA) – The Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) is seeking the approval for other potential routes of the Bat-Man natural gas pipeline.

”They will present again since there are three alternative routes, they will seek for the approval of it,” Department of Energy (DOE) officer-in-charge (OIC) secretary Zenaida Monsada said in an interview.

She explained that the initial approved route, which is the shortest, will hit the right of way for the Philippine National Railways (PNR) expansion along Sucat and Navotas. Monsada added there are many other parties that will dig in that area.

The OIC secretary noted that PNOC will re-submit the proposal to the National Economic Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for approval.

She also said PNOC will present the pipeline’s network to the NEDA-ICC — set on Oct 14 this year — which was initially set for Oct 2 but was rescheduled.

With the change of route, Monsada stressed there will be little change on the project cost.

However, she said the project is still targeted to be awarded during the current administration, adding it is vital for the creation of the country’s energy mix.

”The ideal is it will be awarded within this admin… because we want a balanced energy mix, renewable energy, coal and natural gas. Nat-gas cannot move without the necessary infrastructure,” Monsada said.

For her part, PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said after the NEDA-ICC backs the proposal, it will be submitted to the NEDA Board for approval.

She stressed that the proposal could still be approved this year.

Canilao explained that the NEDA-ICC only had questions on the supply and demand.

However, she said the budget will not be renewed as the clarifications were mostly on the technical specifications and the data for the demand.

The 121-kilometers Bat-Man natural gas pipeline will run from Batangas to Manila and will transport and supply to the areas it will pass by such as Laguna and Cavite.

PNOC will seek a private partner on the project, through a bidding process, which will also install compressor stations, metering stations, valves, control stations and SCADA systems.

Foreign investors were reported to have taken interest on developing the project such as PTT Plc. of Thailand, Japanese-firm Marubeni Corporation and Russian state-owned company Gazprom. (PNA)