The Department of Energy (DOE) said production of natural gas fell 11.6 percent to 73,388 million standard cu. feet (mmcsf) from January to August 25 compared with 83,026 mmcsf recorded in January to August 7, 2019.
DOE data showed consumption also went down by 12 percent to 69,856 mmcsf, bulk of which was used for power production and a small percent for industrial use.
Natural gas consumption figures in January to August 2019 was at 79,535 mmcsf.
The lower production was due to the quarantine protocols against the pandemic implemented for most of the period.
As of first half of the year, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) sourced only 9,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of its power from natural gas-fired power plants, almost 15 percent lower from 2019’s procurement of 10,563.3 GWh.
For both periods, natural gas-fired power plants are Meralco’s top source of electricity in its fuel mix.
The Malampaya gas field is the sole source of natural gas of the country and supplies fuel to several power plants with a combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts. However, its contract is set to expire by 2024 but expected to be depleted by 2027 to 2029.
Several companies are now racing to develop their own natural gas import hub in order to enable the shipping of the said fuel when the country can no longer supply its own requirements.