Metro Manila to run on CNG by 2010

Project part of government efforts to increase the Philippines' energy independence in oil and gas reserves by 20 percent in a bid to reduce coal imports by 20 percent in 10 years

Published: 31-Dec-2004

O Manila will be running on compressed natural gas (CNG) by the end of the decade.

That is, if the Department of Energy’s proposal to increase the country’s renewable energy-based capacity by 100 percent pushes ahead.

Consisting primarily of methane, CNG is stored under high pressure and used as an alternative fuel for motor vehicles. Although significant amounts of nitrogen oxides are emitted by CNG, it nevertheless remains as one of the cleanest fuels because of its low hydrocarbon emissions and non-ozone-producing vapors.

The proposal, which is in line with the energy department’s renewable energy plan framework, also expects to reach a 5-percent blend on coco-methyl ester (CME) with diesel fuel for vehicles by 2010 and a 10-percent ethanol blend with gasoline fuel for vehicles by 2007 to reach 25 percent by 2010.

As part of the plan’s framework, the government aims to increase the country’s energy independence in oil and gas reserves by 20 percent in a bid to reduce coal imports by 20 percent in 10 years.

As a result, the energy department will continue to intensively promote oil and gas exploration in the country with two blocks already bid out by BHP Billiton, Amerada Hess and Occidental Petroleum at the first Petroleum Contracting Round (PCR-1).

The government also plans to launch the second round sometime next year.

On the other hand, the energy department said that it will boost local coal production by identifying additional coal exploration areas, enhancing promotional activities on clean coal technology and increase mine productivity.

The department also disclosed that it will actively promote geothermal exploration through its geothermal bid round, where it earlier offered 10 prospective geothermal sites with 300 megawatts to 510 megawatts of potential capacity.

It said that evaluation of bids for two sites auctioned on the first Geothermal Bid Round (Geo­thermal-1) are still ongoing.

Meanwhile, the department also targets the conversion of retired oil-based power plants to natural-gas-fired technology. It also plans to construct greenfield natural gas-fired power plants two years from now, thus making natural gas as a fuel of choice.

As such, the energy department plans to form strategic alliance with other countries and forge energy agreements with existing and new energy partners. It will also push for joint development efforts on the upstream exploration activities with neighboring countries.

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