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Natural gas filling station to rise in Batangas
Bernardette S. Sto. Domingo, BusinessWorld (07 Mar 2005)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: The consortium working on the Malampaya natural gas is putting up compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations in Batangas and Laguna that will service some 200 gas-powered buses expected to hit the roads this year.

Outgoing Energy Secretary Vincent S. Perez, Jr. led the groundbreaking last Saturday for the construction of the CNG mother station in Tabangao, Batangas City.

"With everything all set and everyone's cooperation, we are optimistic that the pilot CNG bus program will be successful to eventually establish a favorable environment for a very new industry -- the CNG industry," Mr. Perez said.

The Malampaya consortium is also putting up a daughter or retail station in Binan, Laguna.

In a statement, the Department of Energy (DoE) said the government would adopt the mother-daughter fuel transport system until the pipeline that would bring natural gas from the Batangas onshore plant to Metro Manila is operational.

Construction of the mother-daughter stations officially opens the CNG for Public Transport Pilot Project spearheaded by DoE and the Malampaya consortium, Mr. Perez said.

The seven-year pilot project will determine the commercial viability and market demand for CNG-fueled public utility buses.

In line with this, Malampaya natural gas will be sold lower than the prevailing price of diesel for the next seven years to entice bus operators to convert to CNG.

Mr. Perez also said several government financial institutions led by Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, and PhilExim Bank have opened financing packages for transport groups to convert to natural gas-run vehicles.

He said HM Transport, Inc. would bring the first original equipment manufacture CNG bus from China by the end of this month.

Thirty-five additional CNG buses will arrive by June, in time for the scheduled completion of the mother-daughter station. By end of the year, around 200 CNG buses are expected to be plying the Batangas-Manila and Manila- Batangas routes.

Mr. Perez said the government would also offer incentives to encour age greater private sector participation in the natural gas project.

These perks include:

  • income tax holidays;
  • 1% tariff on imported CNG motor vehicles and natural gas vehicles-related equipments;
  • issuance of Certificate of Compliance with Emission Standards to NGVs by the Land Transportation Office;
  • immediate issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources;
  • preferential franchises for CNG buses from Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board;
  • exemption of CNG vehicles from the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program; and
  • 48 sets of Philippine National Standards for CNG utilization.

The Malampaya consortium is composed of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., Chevron Texaco Malampaya LLC, and Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp.


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