Running fuel products through a pipeline is a simple matter of practicality and economics. Pipelines are still the most cost-effective way to move a large volume of fuels over long distances.
In the US, there are more than 200,000 miles of oil pipelines that operate with minimal safety problems.
Closer to home, there are major pipeline projects under construction in Southeast Asia in order to provide the vast energy requirements needed to supply the growing economies of the region.
There is the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) project, which is designed to interconnect the gas pipeline infrastructure of Asean member states and which would enable the transportation of gas across national borders.
The Philippines has 529.5 kilometers of natural gas transmission pipelines that transport gas from the Malampaya Gas Field to fuel three power plants: the 500 MW San Lorenzo, 1,000 MW Sta Rita and 1,200 MW Ilijan power plants in Batangas province.
Nine other natural gas pipeline projects are in the construction pipeline for Luzon from 2017 to 2022.
According to the government’s Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) these are the Batangas-Manila 1 (BatMan 1), BatMan 2, Bataan-Cavite (BatCave), Subic Pipeline, Clark Pipeline, Subic-Fort Bonifacio Pipeline, Sucat-Malaya, Sucat-Quirino lines and a city gas distribution network—the EDSA-Taft Gas Pipeline.
The 105-kilometer BatMan 1 Project is a high-pressure gas transmission pipeline from Batangas to Sucat that will service the gas requirements of the economic zones located along the route from Tabangao, Batangas to Sucat, Paranaque and the transport sector for the CNG-fuelled buses and taxes.
This is the main project of the Energy department and it is expected to operate commercially by 2017.
The supply of natural gas for the BatMan 1 pipeline will come initially from the production of the Malampaya gas field and will be supplemented by LNG (liquefied natural gas) importation.
The 140-km BatMan 2 will serve possible markets such as the Limay combined cycle power plant, which can be converted to natural gas-fired plant, and economic zones, notably Subic and Clark, including industries located along the route.
BatMan 1 and BatMan 2 will be connected via another infrastructure project, the 40-kilometer undersea Bataan-Cavite and through the 35-kilometer Rosario, Cavite, Laguna (RoBin) line.
The 40-km Subic pipeline will be linked with BatMan (2021) and the 25-km Clark pipeline will start from BatMan 2 going to Clark (2022).
The 35-km Sucat-Malaya pipeline (2017) will connect Sucat, Paranaque to the Malaya Power Plant in Rizal.
The 15-km Sucat-Fort Bonifacio pipeline will provide the energy requirements of commercial establishments inside the Bonifacio Global City (2017).
There is also the 117-kilometer Batangas-to-Manila white oil pipeline that had been closed since 2010 by a temporary environmental protection order issued against it by the Supreme Court, after a segment of it leaked oil into the basement of West Tower condominium in Barangay Bangkal in Makati City.
The Supreme Court needs to settle once and for all whether this important pipeline would be allowed to operate again.
The entire stretch of the pipeline, according to news reports, had been inspected and tested by the DOE and its integrity and safety ascertained by various experts.
After more than three years of litigation it is about time this matter is settled.
Before it was shut down, the pipeline provided around 60 percent of the fuel supply in Metro Manila through the Pandacan depot, the country’s largest oil depot.
The fact that the Philippine government has more than a few pipeline projects under construction and is also pushing for the passage of the Oil and Gas Pipeline Regulation Act only shows that pipelines are still preferred over other modes of transporting oil products.
There is even a World Bank (WB) study that showed the potentials of natural gas in solving the power supply woes in Mindanao, again through the use of pipelines that will run along certain industrial zones in Mindanao.
Pipelines are faster, safer and more cost-effective compared to using barges, lorries and trucks. You eliminate incidents of hijackings of fuel trucks, for instance. A pipeline is also not affected by weather disturbances like typhoons and floods. It helps reduce traffic congestion. Also, there is a lower risk of product contamination and pilferage and a lower carbon footprint.
We just need to review, expand and improve existing regulations on our pipeline systems to ensure their safety and reliability, and this is why Congress should work on the passage of the Oil and Gas Pipeline Regulation Act.