Govt rushing to ensure approval of BatMan 1


THE Department of Energy (DOE) and the Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines (PPP-CP) are working double time to ensure the immediate approval and implementation of the proposed Batangas-Manila (Bat-Man1) pipeline project.

DOE officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said the National Economic and Development Authority- Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) will convene on October 14 to finalize the structure and design of the project.

PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao earlier said the project has already been approved by the NEDA-ICC but because of some revisions to its terms of reference (TOR), it was returned to the committee for finalization.

Monsada said the NEDA-ICC should finalize and approve the route of the pipeline project.

Based on the initial proposal, Monsada said, the project may cause conflict in the expansion program of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) may occur.

She said that right of way (ROW) concerns should be addressed before the implementation of the project.

“They have to present that because, actually, there were three alternative routes but only one will be chosen and will be approved, the shortest one,” Monsada said.

She said the goal is for the project to be awarded within the term of the Aquino administration.

“The project will complete our picture because we want a balanced energy mix — renewable energy (RE), coal and natural gas (natgas). Natgas cannot move without the necessary infrastructure,” said Monsada.

Canilao has expressed confidence that the project will be finally approved this year and will be implemented before the end of the Aquino administration.

The Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) commissioned the PPP Center to conduct an extensive feasibility study on the project.

In turn, the PPP tapped Rebel Group International BV to conduct the study and provide PNOC transaction advisory support until the project’s financial close.

The report of the Rebel Group will be used as basis for the TOR for the bidding of BatMan

But after Rebel Group came out with its feasibility study, the DOE sought clarification on the technical specifications of the BatMan1 project.

The natural gas pipeline has been estimated to cost between $100 million and $150 million [P4.68 billion to P7.02 billion].

Once the project is awarded, the winning firm will conduct an engineering study of the project that involves laying down 105 kilometers of pipeline that will distribute gas from LNG terminals in Batangas to industrial customers in Manila.

The project has drawn interest from foreign investors like PTT of Thailand, Japanese power firm Marubeni Corp., and Russian power firm Gazprom.

PNOC had earlier junked the unsolicited bid of listed Abacus Consolidated Resources & Holdings Inc. for a joint venture to develop the pipeline project.

The DOE said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is also helping the Philippine government in formulating its policy and infrastructure blueprint for the liquefied natural gas sector.


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