VIDEO | Energy chief Petilla inspects Malampaya amid breakdowns bugging facility

interphoto_1435246679PALAWAN, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla himself led an inspection Thursday of the Malampaya gas field facilities in Palawan.

He inspected the new platform, installed in February of 2015 with the goal of supplying natural gas to Luzon’s three biggest power plants. The second platform, however, was hobbled by serial breakdowns almost as soon as installation was completed, forcing restrictions on the volume of gas to be released in April, in turn causing supply to thin in the Luzon grid.

Shell Philippines Exploration Co., which has a contract with the government to run the facility at the Camago-Malampaya gas field, pledged to “do what we can” to ensure the situation gets better with the second platform, with which government hopes to draw more natural gas.

There’s another cause for concern, however. Experts estimate the supply of natgas from Malampaya will run out in nine years, by which time the contract with Shell ¬†expires. The government is studying the impact of that on prices.

Meantime, Petilla concedes the need to search for new sources of natural gas, or turn to alternative fuels. He also noted that additional drillings in other areas will require “more lead time.”

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