Though some parts of the country have been experiencing rotating brownouts already, recent studies stated that this would be worse in the coming years. However, if the Philippine Government decides to beef up its oil and gas reserves to increase energy independence in the next few years, then the ‘Dark Ages’ will not happen.
INCREASING ENERGY DEMAND
The Philippines’ oil and gas reserves are steadily declining, driving the country to greater reliance on imports. In an article published recently, GlobalData’s expert Harshavardhan Reddy Nagatham said, “The growing population is driving electricity consumption in the Philippines. As a result, new investment in capacity addition is urgently needed.”
The problems in the country’s oil and gas exploration initiatives only make the situation worse as investors have been taking a wait-and-see stance due to currently unresolved issues that pit the government auditors against current gas exploration investors.
The Department of Energy (DOE) stated that the Philippines’ oil dependency is already at a hefty 48%. It is expected to increase in the coming years “due to a growing demand for refining feedstock, next to continued declines in oil and gas production.”
MORE EXPLORATIONS NEEDED
The First Solutions Macro Research, a unit of the Fitch Group report also shared that, “The Philippines remains in dire need of more oil and gas exploration as existing reserves decline and as its sole producing Malampaya gas-to-power project approaches the end of its production life.”
The Malampaya project accounts for 98% of domestic oil and gas production. However, the Malampaya field is expected to start producing less gas in five years’ time.
More than the country’s oil and gas reserve decrease is the continued geo-political tension in the West Philippine Sea. In the same Fitch report, many of the country’s exploration prospects lie in areas straddling the disputed WPS. In the current time, all exploration works in that area are suspended due to unresolved disputes with China and is not expected to be resolved anytime soon.
Moreover, the help of renewable energy cannot assure energy independence in the country. Though it is seen to grow in the next ten to twelve years and will substantially help the country’s power generation capability, the growth is marginal and cannot be relied on fully, especially with a similar increase in the country’s energy demands.
Having said all these, there is a need for the government to quickly address energy issues, especially with the sharp decline in oil and gas production against the increasing energy demand. In short, we can only achieve energy independence by exploring and tapping more energy resources.
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