The Philippines Government is taking steps to address the stagnant natural gas vehicle situation that has seen only 40 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses continuing to operate. The PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), the coal and upstream oil arm of the state-run Philippine National Oil Co., has begun by acquiring Shell’s CNG stations in Tabangao, Batangas and Mamplasan, Laguna, reports the Business Inquirer.
The government intends by the acquisition to revive the failed seven-year program to produce natural gas for public transportation started by the previous administration, and to push forward the use of this alternative fuel, but through a different approach that includes upgraded technology and removal of subsidies for CNG.
Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr reportedly said the stakeholders concerned have been working to finalize all the necessary memoranda of agreement to effect the transfer of the stations to the government. Involved in the transactions are the consortium operating the $4.5-billion Malampaya gas-to-power project off Palawan, PNOC-EC, CNG bus operators, the Department of Energy and Pilipinas Shell, which owns and operates the existing CNG stations.
“So we expect to complete that sometime in the next six weeks. And then hopefully, by October this year, you will see a new daughter (refilling) station in Batangas running on CNG,” Layug disclosed.
PNOC-EC expects to spend some PHP 400 million (USD 9.2 million) to put up the additional CNG refilling station in Batangas and another set of mother and daughter CNG stations by 2012. Gas will still come from Malampaya.
The Philippines Department of Energy (DoE) apparently expects the number of buses running on CNG to increase to as many as 1,000 buses from the current 40.