Bidding for $1.2B gas pipeline set for March
Manila (15 February) -- Bidding for the $1.2-billion natural gas pipeline from Batangas to Manila (Batman 1) is set in March this year at the earliest.
Part of the Arroyo administration's long-term Integrated Natural Gas Infrastructure Project, the 100-kilometer pipeline will connect Malampaya's existing Palawan-Batangas gas pipeline to Manila, thus, lowering the cost of natural gas used by households and the transport sector.
The project is a joint venture among the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), the Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate Sultan International Holdings (SIH) and its local representative Abacus Consolidated Resources and Holdings, and Italy-based SAIPEM Eni.
"We hope it would be bidded out before the middle of March this year so we could comply with all the legal requirements," said Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas after a courtesy call he made to the President along with representatives of the project proponents.
"We think the Philippines is a good destination for investment from international sources. We will go through the terms of this transaction in great detail. As soon as we finish the negotiations, we will establish the terms of the investment," said SIH senior representative Nicholas Clemens.
Because it is an unsolicited proposal, the joint venture's bid will be subject to the so-called Swiss challenge from other interested international groups. Already, PTT Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand, Marubeni Corp. of Japan, Gazprom of Russia, and Petrochina Co. Ltd. of China have evinced interest.
The project, the 140-km Bataan-Manila (Batman 2) pipeline, is still at the feasibility stage.
Aside from constructing Batman 1, the PNOC joint venture entails the establishment of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) reception terminal and a 600-800 megawatt (MW) power plant, which will run from the estimated 300MW excess capacity of the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project.
The Malampaya consortium, which is 10 percent owned by PNOC and 90 percent owned by Shell Phils. Exploration BV and Chevron Texaco, provides natural gas to three power facilities with a combined capacity of 2,700 MW. These power plants, in turn, provide power to distributor/retailers such as Manila Electric Co. (PIA-MMIO) [top]