President Rodrigo Durterte receives an update on the country's electricity status from Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (shown in this screen grabbed photo) during the Talk to the Nation late Thursday night, September 2.

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the country will continue to pursue the discovery of indigenous resources like oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) following the lifting of the restriction on exploration activities in the region.

Cusi said during President Rodrigo Duterte’s late Thursday night talk to the nation that since the lifting of the moratorium on five service contracts in the WPS, they have already recommended the awarding of four more service contracts for exploration.

He said the study to find more resources in the WPS is being pursued in preparation for the anticipated depletion of natural gas in Malampaya and on the side of building new liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities. 

“Isa sa mandato ng kagawaran ay siguraduhin ang long-term energy security para sa ating bansa, maliban sa LNG, patuloy din na isinusulong ang exploration ng ating indigenous resources gaya ng gas at oil sa West Philippine Sea,” he said.

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“Sa inyong pag-uutos, na-lift po ang moratorium sa limang service contracts at nag-recommend na ang ahensya ng award[ing] ng apat pang service contracts for exploration sa West Philippine Sea,” Cusi added.

According to Cusi, the country may gain an additional 7,712 megawatts of energy from 2021 to 2027 as a result of the development of new power sources this year and in the following years to meet the country’s growing power needs.

Between 2016 and 2020, installed capacity increased by 4,863 MW, from 21,424 MW to 26,287 MW, he said.

By next year, two LNG projects are expected to go online—the LNG project of AG&P and Osaka Gas by the second quarter and the LNG facility of First Gen and Tokyo Gas by the third quarter, Cusi said.

Two LNG projects are scheduled to come online next year, according to Cusi: the LNG project of AG&P and Osaka Gas in the second quarter and the LNG facility of First Gen and Tokyo Gas in the third quarter.

The energy department has teamed up with Australian and Japanese companies to research hydrogen as a future fuel. The Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee, he said, is also looking at nuclear energy’s potential as a component of the country’s energy mix.

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