Makati gas leak traced to FPIC pipe--UP-NIGS

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 29 2010 09:36 AM | Updated as of Oct 30 2010 09:03 AM

FPIC vows to cooperate in finding other leaks

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The First Philippine Industrial Corp. (FPIC) said on Friday that it will fully cooperate with authorities to pinpoint other possible leaks from its petroleum pipeline in Makati City.

In a press conference, FPIC president Leonides Garde said it was still too early to estimate the damage caused by the leak to Makati's Bangkal area as diggings were still on going to locate more possible leaks.

"Hanggang hindi natin nararating eksakto, hindi malalaman," Garde said.

He added that they will be looking into several possible causes of the pipe leak, one of which is past "construction activities" in the area.

Garde said the FPIC is not worried about the possible impact of the Makati City government's shut down order because of the leak. He said "public safety is more important to us."

Gerald Quina, administrative staff of the University of the Philippines-National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS), confirmed earlier suspicions that the source of the gas leak in Makati City is the pipe of the Lopez-owned FPIC.

Quina said the leaking pipe of FPIC was located 86 meters away from the West Tower Condominium.

"Kanina mga 5:30 a.m., naghuhukay sila, lumabas na ang tubo nila (FPIC). Lumabas po ang leak. Tumatagas mismo ang tubo (Around 5:30 a.m. while they were digging, they found a part of the FPIC's pipe. It was leaking)," Quina said in an interview on ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."

He said the discovery confirmed their earlier suspicion that the oil leaking into the canals around the Bangkal area and into the basement of the 22-story condominium building comes from the FPIC pipe.

The leak was initially discovered in the condominium building last July, and the second leak was found along the south-bound service road of Osmeña Highway on Tuesday.

The Makati City government has ordered that the FPIC pipe be shut down temporarily due to the excavation.

Compromised portion of pipeline

Meanwhile, in a statement late Friday, the FPIC announced that "it has finally limited the location of the possible source of a petroleum leak along a specific portion of its pipeline along Osmeña Highway, particularly that located immediately under the southbound ramp of the Osmeña Highway at the corner of Magallanes and EDSA."

The company said "there are indications that the leak may be coming from a portion of the pipeline that had been encased in concrete, as added protection from the impending development of the South Luzon Expressway."

"The technical and safety crew of FPIC have been working round the clock, in close coordination with the City Government of Makati, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Energy, to break through the concrete and get to the compromised portion of pipeline. The ongoing works are being undertaken with utmost care to avoid the possibility of compromising the ramp's structural safety in anyway, fully aware of the pipeline's delicate location," it said.

"It will be recalled that the FPIC has previously shutdown the pipeline's operation to ensure public safety and well-being. FPIC is observing the same degree of caution in its efforts to find the source of the leak to avoid any outward incident," it added.

Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay told ANC in an interview on Thursday that after the source of the leak is found, the city government will assess its damage before looking into the possible liability of FPIC. – with a report from radio dzMM