DOE inks deal with Japan’s HTI to explore use of hydrogen energy

Robie de Guzman   •   April 9, 2021   •   381

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Tokyo-based Hydrogen Technology Inc. (HTI) to explore the potential of hydrogen as a fuel for power generation.

In a statement, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the MOU will fast-track the Philippines’ research and development activities for hydrogen.

The MOU was signed on April 7 between Cusi and HTI president and CEO Yasuhiro Yamamoto.

“The DOE, with the creation of the Hydrogen and Fusion Energy Committee (HFEC), commits to exploring hydrogen as a viable alternative and cleaner source of energy and its other beneficial applications for the Filipino people,” Cusi said in a statement.

“With the assistance of HTI and through the signing of the MOU, we are hopeful that the development of hydrogen energy will eventually be realized,” he added.

The DOE said the MOU it entered into with the HTI is the second pact signed to further study the research and development of hydrogen energy in line with the department’s vision to include hydrogen in the country’s future energy mix.

In January this year, the DOE signed a similar undertaking with Star Scientific Ltd., an Australian research and development company.

Cusi expressed hope that the HTI will be able to bring into the country its technology sooner so that the R&D activities can already commence.

“I had been wanting to bring the model here in the Philippines so that we can do the trial usage of the technology in one of the islands. I hope that with the signing of this MOU, the model can be immediately shipped,” he said.

He also assured HTI that the DOE will help facilitate the entry of its technicians if needed, given the restricted movements because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the MOU, the DOE and HTI plan to “investigate hydrogen production in the Philippines to make the country energy independent and significantly reduce the country’s CO2 emissions.”

DOE, Japanese firm ink deal to update PH oil contingency plan

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for a study that would update the 2002 Philippine National Oil Contingency Plan, as well as provide recommendations on the creation and operation of a Strategic Petroleum (SPR) Program.

The MOA was virtually signed by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and JOGMEC CEO Tetsuhiro Hosono.

“Today’s signing speaks volumes on Japan’s commitment to help the Philippines succeed in attaining its energy security goals. I take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Japanese government and its private sector for helping us attain our long-term goals,” Cusi said in a statement.

The DOE said the agreement is an offshoot of the DOE’s collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and JOGMEC to update the 2002 METI study, “Master Plan for the Development of Stockpiling for the Philippines.”

Under the MOA, JOGMEC will conduct a study within eight months of its signing, and the parties shall have a one-year consultative period after the submission of the final report.

The main areas of the study are:

  • The international petroleum products’ supply and demand situation in the past five years and the expected growth for the next 20 years;
  • The international strategic petroleum reserve program situation in the past five years to address supply disruptions;
  • The existing international oil supply security agreements both in ASEAN and other regions of the world and how the Philippines could participate;
  • The Philippine petroleum products’ supply and demand situation in the past five years and expected growth for the next 20 years;
  • Philippine Government-owned and privately-owned crude oil and finished petroleum products’ storage facilities in the past five years and the expected growth for the next 20 years;
  • Existing Philippine policies and implementation to address petroleum products’ supply for normal demand, as well as demand for contingency/emergency response due to any international or domestic supply disruption;
  • An analysis of the gaps in the existing Philippine Government-owned and private-owned petroleum products’ storage facilities to address the existing and the expected growth in demand, as well as the contingency/emergency response during any international and domestic supply disruption;
  • An analysis of the gaps in the existing Philippine policies on contingency/emergency response to any international and domestic supply disruption;
  • An analysis of the role of the DOE, the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and other relevant government agencies to address the Philippine national petroleum products’ contingency/emergency supply strategies and measures;
  • Provide recommendations on the creation and operation of the Philippine PSRP;
  • Submit to DOE the recommended updated 2002 Philippine National Oil Contingency Plan incorporating all the above data, information, analysis, SPRP recommendations and the overall recommendations on how to address the Philippine national petroleum products supply security and contingency/ emergency response to any international or domestic supply disruption.

Two months after the completion of the study, JOGMEC will submit to the DOE its final output, an updated 2002 Philippine National Oil Contingency Plan, and all its corresponding relevant data and information, the department said.

They will likewise provide relevant recommendations on the creation and operation of the Philippine Strategic Petroleum Reserve Program, it added.

DOE, ERC urged to probe unplanned outages in some Luzon power plants

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to look into the reported unplanned outages of some power plants in Luzon that allegedly triggered a spike in consumers’ electricity bills.

Citing data from the Independent Energy Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP), Gatchalian said that for the March 2021 billing period, there were 1,580 megawatts (MW) non-coincidental unplanned outages or 61.3% of the total outages.

For the April 2021 billing period but only until April 18, there were 1,428 MW non-coincidental unplanned outages or 62.8% of the total outages, he added.

“Dapat gumalaw dito ang ERC dahil noong November 2020 last year, naglabas sila ng isang polisiya na lahat ng planta ay dapat makapag-deliver batay sa tinatawag na reliability index,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Kapag bumagsak sila doon sa polisiya ng ERC at hindi nila ma-justify kung bakit pumalya yung planta, magmumulta sila,” he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy, also urged the DOE to address any logistical issues being faced y some power producers to prevent similar occurences in the coming weeks as the government plans to intensify its COVID-19 vaccination between May and June.

“Hindi dapat tayo magkaroon ng brownouts dahil padating pa ang mga bakuna natin by the end of this month, May, or June at maseselan itong mga vaccines. May iba na kailangan ng almost subzero freezing temperature o mga freezer na kaya ang negative 20 degrees. Kaya kung may brownout tayo, saan natin ilalagay ang mga bakuna natin? Malaking dagok ‘yan sa atin at maaantala ‘yung vaccination process natin,” he said.

The DOE should also address problems in the delivery of spare parts needed by power plants to prevent simultaneous outages, Gatchalian said.

“Dapat ring imbestigahan ng DOE ang ilang alegasyon tungkol sa logistics. Dahil nga pandemya ngayon, hindi dumarating yung mga spare parts, kaya nagkaka-problema sa logistics. Dapat magawan agad ito ng aksyon para hindi sabay-sabay na bumagsak ang mga planta,” he said.

“Dapat gawin ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng makakaya para maiwasan ang brownout. Kaya ang solusyon dito at all cost – dapat yung mga planta huwag bumagsak, huwag silang mag outage.” he added.

PH Energy dep’t. vows to protect petroleum resources in West Philippine Sea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) vowed to take necessary steps to assert the Philippines’ rights over petroleum and other resources in the West Philippine Sea should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities within the area.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi issued the statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said in his public address on Monday that he would send the country’s warships to the West Philippine Sea once the country starts drilling for oil and other resources in the seabed of the region.

“The Department of Energy (DOE) stands firmly behind any decision and action of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte regarding the assertion of the exclusive licensing authority of the Philippines over petroleum and other resources in the seabed and subsoil of the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Cusi said the DOE supports the President’s statements regarding the defense of the resources of the Philippine seabed and subsoil as this s in accordance with the Philippine laws.

“Under our laws, only the Philippine government, through the DOE, may issue licenses to drill in Philippine land territory, including its islands, internal waters, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf,” he said.

“Should any foreign state engage in petroleum activities inside the Philippine petroleum jurisdiction, the DOE shall take the necessary steps to protect our licensees and preserve our resources,” he added.

“It shall defer to the sole prerogative of the President regarding any security option. It shall also conform to any decision that the Department of Foreign Affairs might take regarding the ongoing informal negotiations on oil and gas cooperation with China.”

Tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea surfaced anew due to the lingering presence of Chinese vessels in waters within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The Department of National Defense has called for the immediate removal of these vessels while the Department of Foreign Affairs filed a series of diplomatic protests over the issue.

“Meanwhile, the DOE continues to develop the uncontested Philippine EEZ and continental shelf through the resumption of petroleum operations by our licensees and the award of new petroleum areas,” the department said.

“The Philippines remains in business, COVID-19 and China, notwithstanding,” it added.

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