A MEMBER of Congress has called on the government to now make a study on the possible uses for the country’s two giant oil rigs in the West Philippine Sea.
In the view of many, the call should enjoy public support because the Malampaya natural gas field off the coast of Palawan will eventually run out of supply.
They described the call as timely, coming in the midst of the country’s simmering dispute with China over territorial waters.
“The Malampaya gas wells are bound to dry up, be plugged and abandoned, along with the platforms,” said LPG-MA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty.
Ty proposed that once vacated, the Malampaya oil rigs could be converted into a Philippine Navy (PN) outpost or used as a marine research hub by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), on the other hand, can opt to transform the platforms into a high security prison, according to the outspoken party-list legislator.
The rigs are two large adjacent structures with facilities to extract natural gas and oil from undersea reservoirs.
One of the two platforms, which are built to withstand typhoons and earthquakes, can house 60 workers and has a helipad.
Well-meaning Filipinos said concerned government authorities would do well to heed the call of the party-list member of the House of Representatives.
Of course, we cannot overemphasize the importance of planning way ahead of the closure of the natural gas field in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Government authorities must act swiftly because the area, where the oil rigs are built, is believed to contain up to 55.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.4 billion barrels of oil.