Environmentalist alarmed by commercial availability of Alegria natural gas, oil

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo March 15,2018 - 01:36 PM

Cebuano lawyer and environmental activist Gloria Estenzo Ramos described the latest development on the commercial availability of natural gas and oil at the Alegria Oil Field in southern Cebu as “sad and alarming.”

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi declared that commercial quantities of natural gas and oil resources are now available in Alegria town, Cebu, which is approximately 115 kilomters from Cebu City.

In a news release published on DOE’s website, a Joint Declaration of Commerciality (JDC) was signed between the DOE and the service contractor China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited (CIMP Co. Ltd.) last March 14 at the Hyatt Hotel in Taguig City.

The press release noted that CIMP Co. Ltd. holds Petroleum Service Contract (SC) No.49, which covers the Alegria Oil Field.

“Natural gas is still fossil fuel. Why are our authorities still crazy about fossil fuels when we have to reduce carbon emission?” said Ramos, vice president of Oceana Philippines.

Ramos emphasized that Alegria is part of the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape.

Tañon Strait is a habitat and migratory route for 14 species of marine mammals, including spinner dolphins, dwarf sperm whales, pygmy killer whales and spotted dolphins. It is also one of the country’s major fishing grounds, sustaining 43,000 fishers.

When asked about her comment on the commercial availability of natural gas and oil in Alegria, Ramos said: “Bad especially in a protected area. There has to be rigorous environmental impact assessment.”

The DOE and CIMP Co. Ltd. established that the oil field “contained commercial quantities of natural gas upon its discovery of oil accumulation in the adjacent hydrocarbon traps within the Alegria underground area.”

The DOE press release said exploration and drilling activities were conducted on the oil field in 2009, which led to the discovery of approximately 27.93 million barrels of oil (MMBO) with a possible production recovery of 3.35 MMBO or a conservative estimate of 12% of total oil in place/reserves.

For natural gas, about 9.42 billion cubic feet (bcf) reserves were found, with the recoverable resource estimated at 6.6 bcf or about 70% of total natural gas in place/reserves.

Natural gas and oil production of the field may last until 2037 based on the development plan crafted after the initial testing.

Despite this news, Ramos express confidence that the Philippines’ strong environmental laws and jurispudence will prevail.

In 2015, Ramos said they won the Resident Marine Mammals case when the Supreme Court declared that the offshore drilling in Tañon Strait was unconstitutional.

“Anything which is ecologically destructive has no place in a protected area. It will impact biodiversity, fisheries, water resources, livelihoods that depend on a healthy and functioning ecosystem,” Ramos added.

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TAGS: alarmed, commercial, environmentalist, gas, natural

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