By Manolo Serapio Jr.
Australia-listed Energy World Corp. (EWC) expects to start up a gas-fired power plant in the Philippines by end-2018, its chief executive said, fed by the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports.
The Philippines does not currently import LNG, but its domestic natural gas reserves are depleting, and the country has been developing plans for import terminals for years. EWC’s terminal on Pagbilao island in Quezon province, if started up this year, would mark the country’s first LNG imports.
“By the end of this year, we should have 400 megawatts (MW) in operation,” EWC Managing Director and CEO Stewart Elliott told Reuters in an interview in Manila.
The generating capacity is part of a 650 MW power plant EWC is building in Quezon, located near its LNG receiving plant that is 90 percent complete, and will be capable of receiving 3 million tons of LNG a year, Elliott said.
The company will initially source the gas from the spot market and later possibly from its Sengkang gas field in Indonesia, Elliot said.
EWC has been developing the power plant and import terminal since 2011 but completion has been set back by several delays. Elliott said the project was now far enough advanced for EWC to have a tanker on stand-by in Singapore to bring in LNG once the facility is ready.
In a sign the project is close to start-up, the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), in charge of running the country’s power grid, has issued a system impact study to Energy World that details how the plant’s entry would affect the grid and is “one of many requirements” before power stations go online, said an NGCP spokeswoman.
Power demand in the Philippines is rising fast along with its expanding economy, and imports of LNG are expected to rise rapidly as the nation’s natural gas reserves decline.
The Philippines plans to rely on imported LNG when its Malampaya gas field – in western Philippine waters – dries up in 2024. The field fuels around a fifth of the country’s power.
To meet future demand, Elliott said EWC was in early talks on another LNG receiving site in southern Mindanao island.