Sunday, February 24, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: China to fund cost of natural gas project

THE Philippines is counting on China to advance the bulk of the estimated $7.5-billion cost of a new natural gas project in the West Philippine Sea under a proposed joint exploration and development agreement.

This is the reason why we are bringing the Chinese in – for them to shoulder the cost – because we simply do not have the wherewithal to develop a second deep-water gas field there.

Everybody is convinced that we have vast gas deposits in the West Philippine Sea Basin. The only problem is where to drill the wells precisely in order to hit the biggest reservoir.

President Duterte earlier proposed a “60-40” sharing deal with China as the two countries began crafting a cooperation framework to jointly search for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea.

There’s nothing wrong with giving the Chinese a 40-percent share, especially if they will advance the full cost of the project. In fact, we gave the Dutch and the British 45 percent, and the Americans another 45 percent in Malampaya. This refers to the country’s first offshore gas project located some 65 kilometers northwest of Palawan.

Royal Dutch Shell plc and Chevron Corp. each effectively have a 45 percent stake in Malampaya, with the Philippine National Oil Corp. keeping 10 percent.

A second offshore gas project, this time with China, would go a long way in reducing the Philippines’ dependence on imported fuel and shielding Filipinos against future oil price shocks. “There’s really no telling where crude oil prices will be years from now. It could be $100 again, possibly even $200 per barrel. So we have to brace ourselves by producing more gas.

We have to be forward-looking when it comes to our energy requirements, considering that Malampaya’s gas reserves won’t last forever. Malampaya supplies the gas that drives the power plants in Batangas that in turn generate 30 percent of Luzon’s electricity requirements.

Malampaya’s gas deposits were originally projected to last only until 2024, but in December last year Shell said the reserves could actually last until 2028.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza

Poll workers’ pay, security

We anticipate better compensation package, insurance and protection for teachers who will opt to serve the barangay and SK elections on May 14, 2018. We laud the passage of the Election Services Reform Act or ESRA (RA 10756) that will reduce, if not totally put an end to harassment, intimidation, violent attacks and post-election cases suffered by the teachers in the past elections.

Because of this law, teachers will not be compelled to serve the elections if they perceive that they are not safe, secured or well compensated or simply they just do not want the task. They can now have the option to serve or not.

We are confident that the law’s first test for implementation will favor the teachers who will sit in the electoral board (EB) for the upcoming barangay and SK elections.--Benjo Basas, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition


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