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A Philippine Ridge Development Authority

WE may be having problems with regards to our claims in the South China Sea west of the Philippines, but our prospects in the maritime area east of the Philippines – in Benham Rise – are brighter than ever, with the finding that this undersea ridge, which the UN has ruled to be part of the Philippine continental shelf, appears to be rich in gas hydrates.

Gas hydrates have been described as the fuel of the future. The world today depends for its energy needs mostly on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. But these are swiftly being depleted and many nations, including the Philippines, are turning to renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.

We can now add gas hydrates as a future source of energy for the Philippines.

There are still some technological problems in producing methane from gas hydrates today so that the world continues to depend heavily on the old fossil fuels. But ten to 15 tears from today, it is said, the world may start turning to methane from gas hydrates to run its industries.

Trillions of square meters of methane are said to be trapped in gas hydrates around the world and many nations, among them the United States, Japan, and New Zealand, have national gas hydrate programs. The deposits are located along ocean margins; they are estimated to exceed known petroleum reserves by three to one.

The report of the presence of gas hydrates in Benham Rise has given greater incentive for the Senate committees on economic affairs and on energy to act on a bill filed by Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara tor the creation of a Benham Rise

Development Authority. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, committee chairman, said the bill is on the agenda when the Senate resumes its sessions on May 2.

President Duterte has announced his intention to rename Benham Rise “Philippine Ridge,” to tell the world that it is the Philippines’ own. The Senate might consider this Duterte plan so the development body they plan to approve will be properly named – Philippine Ridge Development Authority.

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