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PNOC-EC takes over natural gas for vehicles program means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines - State-owned Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) has taken over the government's natural gas for vehicles program.

Gemiliano C. Lopez Jr., PNOC-EC chairman, said the company signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Energy, Shell Philippines Exploration BV and Chevron Malampaya LLC for the turnover of the Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT).

“PNOC-EC is ready, willing and dependable to take the lead for the NGVPPT," Lopez said.

The NGVPPT aims to develop compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel for public transport in the country. Natural gas is relatively cheaper and cleaner than conventional fuels used in vehicles.

The program will use supply from the Malampaya gas field in offshore Palawan, which is run by the consortium of Shell, Chevron and PNOC-EC.

Under the agreement, PNOC-EC will take over Shell's Mamplasan CNG refilling station in Laguna and storage facility in Batangas.

Bus companies lured into importing CNG-fed units had complained of lack of fuel and unreliable operations of the facilities.

Lopez said PNOC-EC plans to jumpstart the NGVPPT with additional CNG stations and storage infrastructure in Metro Manila and Batangas.

The DOE aims to have at least 1,000 buses running on CNG within the next three years.