By Myrna M. Velasco
Lopez firm First Gen Corporation can finally proceed with its long-planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal project that will be sited close to its gas-fed power generating facilities in Batangas.
“I’m happy to say that we have signed the NTP (notice to proceed), I signed it today (March 7) – this morning,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has announced to the media.
He noted that First Gen’s partner – Tokyo Gas Ltd. Co. – in the proposed venture has also been closely watching the anticipated issuance of NTP to the LNG project.
“Tokyo Gas and also the Japanese government have been watching – pursuing this in any economic, ministerial meetings here and in Japan – that is always part of the subject matter,” Cusi said.
The energy chief expounded “last month, we were in Japan – together with Undersecretary (Donato) Marcos and other Cabinet secretaries, that again was taken up,” – referencing on the LNG venture of the Philippines.
As indicated, the Lopez firm and its Japanese partner are intending to spend more than US$1.0 billion in the LNG project; which was originally targeted for a capacity of 5.0 mtpa annually. Tokyo Gas has 20 percent equity in FGen LNG Corp which will be the project’s corporate vehicle.
Cusi explained the LNG import facility of First Gen will not have any “overlap of market” with the Tanglawan Philippine LNG that is now being advanced by Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. of businessman Dennis Uy; China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and state-run Philippine National Oil Company.
“There will be no overlap of market, otherwise, we would not have approved it. That was approved because they have a different business model and they can stand and live up to their business model,” the energy chief stressed.
First Gen has four power plants being fed with gas as fuel – including the 1,000-megawatt Santa Rita; 500MW San Lorenzo; 414MW San Gabriel and 97MW Avion plants.
The timing of the gas import facility’s completion is also year 2023 or prior to the lapse of the service contract of the Malampaya consortium – the same timeframe when gas production at the field is also anticipated to be on declining pace.