DOE to sign MOA for Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT)

The Department of Energy (DOE) is set to reinvigorate its Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT) with the scheduled signing of three Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) on April 11, 2012 at the Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The MOAs are set to pave the way in strengthening the NGVPPT program. The agreements include “Amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement for Compressed Natural Gas for Public Transport Pilot Project” between DOE and the Consortium (Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., Chevron Malampaya LLC, and Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation or PNOC-EC) for Service Contract No. 38 (SC38); the “Take Over of Mamplasan CNG Daughter Station” between Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) and PNOC-EC; and the “Sale of CNG” between PNOC-EC and DOE-accredited CNG Bus Operators. 
The MOA between the DOE and the SC-38 Consortium enables the extension of the NGVPPT Pilot Phase until 2018 ensuring the required CNG supply for 200 buses. The PSPC-PNOC-EC MOA, on the other hand, transfers PSPC’s rights and privileges, which includes ownership and management of the lone CNG Daughter Station in Mamplasan, Laguna to the latter. The MOA between PNOC-EC and the CNG bus operators provides an updated pricing mechanism for the retailing of CNG.
DOE officials are expected to lead the signing ceremonies.
The MOAs are said to address challenges in the implementation of NGVPPT. The program has encountered a few developmental pains, which was said to be the cause of its delay. The approval of PNOC-EC’s application as Category IV Refueling Station Operator in January 2012 is expected to hasten the installation of additional CNG daughter stations, which should be strategically located in Batangas and/or at the Mall of Asia area, to meet the anticipated demand of additional CNG buses. The DOE targets the commercial operation of 200 CNG buses by end-2012.
The lower cost of CNG, as opposed to diesel and gasoline, is one of the major reasons in utilizing this fuel; aside from this advantage, CNG buses are also exempt for the number coding traffic scheme. Preferential franchise issued on newly opened routes and other incentives stipulated in Executive Order No. 290 may also be awarded. Presently, six accredited CNG bus operators, namely: HM Transport, Inc., RRCG Transport System, Inc., KL Transport, Inc., Greenstar Express, Binan Bus Line, and N. Dela Rosa Liner ply various routes from Laguna and Batangas to Manila. There are currently a total of 41 units in operation.