By Myrna M. Velasco
The Philippines is targeting to finally push to groundbreaking rites by 2018 its planned $2.0 billion worth of integrated liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities, but conspicuously absent still is the regulatory framework that shall underpin the country’s gas reset strategy.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) that options would either be a floating regasification and storage unit (FSRU) or an onshore terminal for the LNG import facility, and this shall also rope in a power plant project as well as the necessary distribution networks.
The government-run entity to advance such investment propositions would be Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), in partnership with interested parties, including the private sector.
But even before reaching implementation phase, the energy chief noted that they would still need to undertake public consultation on the propounded regulatory framework for the sector.
“They (investors) can go joint venture with PNOC, to the government and we will also be issuing the regulatory framework,” he said. Public consultations though have yet to kick off on this targeted policy framework.
Cusi added that public consultation on the propounded regulatory regime for the LNG sector will kick off October 10 this year, and will comply with publication as well as administrative requirements until October 20.
Batangas is currently a preferred site for the proposed LNG terminal, but the energy chief indicated that Mindanao at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental; and Subic would still be part of the options.
Cusi told participants of the ASEAN Energy meeting this week that the Philippines would already start its “rollout of the Batangas LNG terminal by 2020.”
He indicated this shall be the country’s “safeguard against the anticipated depletion of the Malampaya gas facility in 2024.”
Cusi emphasized “the buy-in is there. The investors are in. And we expect to commence groundbreaking of this project in 2018.”
The Philippine energy chief said the “shorter term gas contracts” had been an enticement for the country to re-embrace gas as part of its energy mix.
“Consider that a decade ago, more than 95% of LNG contracts were for 10 years or more. Today, that figure is down to about 60%. Given these new developments, ASEAN needs to start planning for this future,” he stressed.
For the Philippines, Cusi said that “we need to think of how we can ride this LNG wave, to ensure that we can safeguard our energy security.”