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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     25 October  2011

Natural gas improves buses

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The Philippine government’s compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles program received a fresh shot in the arm after the Malampaya consortium agreed to supply the fuel requirements of the transport sector.

Omar Castillo, Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. vice president, said the consortium running the country’s largest natural gas field and the Department of Energy will sign an agreement next month for that purpose.

“We will sign a memorandum of agreement on November 3,” Castillo said.

Under the deal, the Malampaya consortium will supply the fuel requirements of 200 CNG buses up to 2018.

Additional CNG buses, however, would have to be covered by a separate agreement between the consortium and the government due “to technical issues,” Castillo said.

The Malampaya consortium is composed of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., Chevron LLC and PNOC-EC.

The deal also covers PNOC-EC’s takeover of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.’s CNG refilling station in Biñan, Laguna along the South Luzon Expressway and storage facility in Batangas.

Once PNOC-EC takes over the said facilities, the company would then proceed with the construction of a new CNG refilling station at the Batangas Port.

Castillo said this would take the company six months to accomplish.

CNG bus operators have long been clamoring for government intervention amid Shell’s inability to sustain the operations of its lone refilling station.

Shell’s Mamplasan station in Biñan, along with the storage facility in Batangas, was put up in 2008 as a pilot project of the DOE under the Natural Gas for Vehicle Program for Public Transport, which aims to promote the use of CNG as an alternative to the more expensive and highly polluting fuel products.

As part of the NGVPPT, bus operators committed to bring in as many as 2,000 CNG-fed units provided the government would guarantee adequate supply of the alternative fuel.

Only 35 out of 60 CNG buses are running because Shell’s refilling station had been mired by lack of fuel and unreliable operations.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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