Fishers warn Quezon Gov. on danger of liquefied gas plant

Fishers warn Quezon Gov. on danger of liquefied gas plant

The fisherfolk activist group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday warned Quezon Governor Rafael Nantes on the extreme danger posed by proposed establishment of a P 2-billion liquefied natural gas project in Barangay Polo in Pagbilao, Quezon.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap urged the governor to think over a thousand times before proceeding with the project, which Gov. Nantes said would provide cheaper and cleaner energy source for the people.

“Liquefied natural gas plants are associated with explosions and death,” said Hicap. The Pamalakaya leader recalled that on July 30, 2004, a natural gas explosion took place in Ghislenghien, Belgium, killing 23 people and injuring more than 120 others.

Hicap said another case of liquefied natural gas explosion happened on September 21, 2001 in Toulouse, France, killing 30 people and injuring 4,900 others and caused damage totalling 2.3 billion Euros.

“Can the people of Quezon accept and survive the future danger and chaos to be caused by this liquefied natural gas venture in the province? We hope Gov. Nantes will put premium to the security and lives of the people over and above the promising commissions this project would bring to his office and other government officials and allied politicians,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya also cited the case of Saudi Aramco. On November 18, 2007, 28 workers were killed in Saudi Arabia during a natural gas explosion.. The accident occurred 30 km from the Hawiyah plant, which produces 310,000 barrels of ethane and liquefied natural gas daily. The number of injured is not disclosed.

The group said on June 3, 2008: The explosion of a gas pipeline on Varanus Island, off Western Australia, causes a massive fire burning out of control. The island is evacuated, and the incident reduces the total supply of natural gas in the state by one third. Gas rationing is introduced as supplies to industry are cut.

Pamalakaya said numerous explosions have occurred before in liquefied natural gas plants, including one in Cleveland, Ohio, causing the death of 128 people and injuring almost 400.

On 23 December 2003, the natural gas explosion at Chongqing, south-western China, killed 234 people and injured about 500, forcing also the evacuation of more than 40,000 residents and the treatment of over 9000 people overcome by poisonous fumes. Australia, a newcomer to the international LNG market, has only had “minor” incidents so far.

The explosion at the Longford Esso facility in 1998 claimed two lives and shut down much of the economy of Victoria for two weeks. The Moomba explosion on 1 January 2004 had a similar effect on South Australia and New South Wales but miraculously caused no deaths. In a previous gas explosion at Moomba, on 15 June 2001, one worker was killed.

Pamalakaya said the lessons drawn from the Algerian and Chinese incidents, and other liquefied natural gas explosions should convince Gov. Nantes and other proponents to recall the liquefied natural gas projects in Pagbilao province.

Gov. Nantes claimed the proposed LNG power plant would deliver clean and green energy, and complement the establishment here of the 700-megawatt Pagbilao power plant and the 440-megawatt power plant in Mauban town to bring progress in Quezon province.

“The construction of the 300-megawatt LNG power-plant project plus the 750-megawatt Pagbilao power plant and 440-megawatt Mauban power plant would reach 1,490 megawatts of electricity to be generated from Quezon so there’s no more reason that real progress will not take place in our province,” he said.

A news report said those who accompanied Gov. Nantes during the ground breaking ceremony in Barangay Polo were Mayor Venus Portes, Vice Mayor Apolinario Martinez, barangay Polo chairman Wilfredo Martinez; Quezon provincial government department heads, led by administrator Aristeo Flores; former Pagbilao mayor Evelyn Abeja who represented Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga of the First District; former Lucena City vice mayor Dondon Alcala who represented Rep. Procy Alcala of the Second District; concerned lawyer and former Quezon provincial board member Sonny Pulgar and municipal and barangay officials here.

The project proponent, Energy World Corp. (EWC), led by its chairman and chief executive officer Stuart Elliot, thanked Nantes and former Quezon governor Eduardo Rodriguez for the construction of the project which he said would allow for genuine local business opportunity to grow in Pagbilao.

The liquefied natural gas that would be produced by the plant would be distributed by a carrier vessel to outlying terminals nationwide and loaded in tank containers for rail distribution to target destinations. A port and passenger terminal and a hotel and resort, among others, will be constructed at the plant site.

EWC is an Australian company which principal activities include exploration, development and production of gas and oil; development and production of LNG; and design, construction, operation and maintenance of LNG plants. #

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