THE Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines (PPPCP) is uncertain if it could address the questions raised by the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding the 100-kilometer Batangas-Manila (Bat-Man 1) gas pipeline project.
PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao admitted they are still in the dark on how to address the concerns raised by the DOE and other agencies.
Canilao confirmed that the DOE has withdrawn the Bat-Man 1 project from the list of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) after the energy department raised questions on the technical specifications of the project.
The PPP Center had earlier tapped Rebel Group International BV to conduct a feasibility study for the project.
But Melita Obillo, director for the DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau, said there are several questions to the technical advisor of the PPP that they have to address and because of this, the bidding for the Bat-Man project faces delay.
“I am not sure if we can still do it this year,” Obillo said.
One of the questions raised by the DOE is the location of the spur lines, among others.
DOE officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said the project had been approved by the NEDA Investment Coordinating Council but with questions.
“We don’t want the project to become a white elephant,” Monsada earlier said.
Once the NEDA decides on the Bat-Man 1 privatization scheme, project construction will be tendered immediately.
Monsada said the project can be elevated for approval to the Cabinet once the questions raised by the DOE as well as the NEDA and the Department of Finance have been addressed.
According to Rebel Group’s study, the proposed pipeline will run end to end, with no customers in between. Construction of the natural gas pipeline has been estimated to cost between $100 million and $150 million.