Conversion plan for Malampaya urged
A senior member of the House Committee on Energy urged yesterday the Aquino administration to identify possible practical uses for the two massive oil rigs in the West Philippine Sea, anticipating that the Malampaya offshore natural gas field in northwest Palawan will eventually run out of supply.
LPG-MA Rep. Arnel Ty said the two Malampaya rigs, once vacated could be converted by the Philippine Navy into an outpost.
“The Malampaya gas wells are bound to dry up, be plugged and abandoned, along with the platforms,” he said, even as continuously urged the government to pour in resources in the modernization of warships to secure the West Philippine Sea’s oil and gas deposits.
He said the Philippine Marine Corps is using what is left of the World War II vintage BRP Sierra Madre as a makeshift garrison 150 kilometers off northwest Palawan. The ship is grounded atop an atoll in the Spratly Islands, he noted.
Ty said the Malampaya rigs could also be used for a marine research hub, or a high security prison.
The Malampaya rigs are two large adjacent structures with facilities to extract natural gas and oil from undersea reservoirs. The platforms are built to withstand typhoons and earthquakes and one of the rigs can house 60 workers and has a helipad, Ty cited.
“The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources could also use the rigs for a marine research hub. Even the Bureau of Corrections can opt to transform the platforms into a high security prison,” he said.
Ty said it would be better if the rigs would be eventually used as a naval station and marine study center.
“Besides its vast hydrocarbon deposits that could help assure the country’s long-term energy requirements, the West Philippine Sea is also home to 20 percent of the country’s fisheries catch, and serves as a breeding ground for high-value aquatic resources that have to be protected to sustain the local commercial fishing industry,” he said.
Located 80 kilometers off northwest Palawan, the Malampaya gas field was discovered in 1991 and began commercial production in 2002. The field’s gas is conveyed via a 504-kilometer, 24-inch pipeline to Batangas City, where the fuel drives three power plants with a combined 2,700 megawatts in full generating capacity.
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