THE Department of Energy (DOE) fears that the proposed Batangas-Manila (BatMan-1) pipeline project could become a white elephant if the feasibility study for the project is not thoroughly reviewed.
“We want to make sure that the project will not be a white elephant. While it is a developmental project, it should effect development,” DOE officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada told reporters.
While the DOE has asked for a review of the study, Monsada said this should not be a cause of delay in the implementation of the project.
She said Rebel Group International BV, which conducted the study, should answer some clarifications and queries on the project from the DOE.
Outgoing Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla earlier asked for a review of the study, saying that the project would be useless if there will be no off-takers.
“I want the study to be evaluated because you cannot have a gas pipe that is end-to-end only, that would be useless if it is serving just one,” he said.
The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines earlier said it would push through with the bidding for the BatMan 1 natural gas pipeline this year.
Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) commissioned the PPP Center to conduct an extensive feasibility study on the project, and PPP tapped Rebel Group to conduct the study and provide PNOC transaction advisory support until the project’s financial close.
The report of Rebel Group would be used as basis for the terms of reference (TOR) for the bidding for BatMan 1.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had previously conducted a study on the prospects of the Philippine natural gas sector.
PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said the project has already been approved by the National Economic Development Authority- Investment Coordination Committee.
She said as a PPP project, the private sector would finance the construction of the long-delayed 100-kilometer natural gas pipeline, which is estimated to cost between $100 million and $150 million.