By Myrna M. Velasco
Thai firm Electricity Generating Public Company Limited (EGCO) is eyeing to invest in a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) facility for the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the country.
According to San Buenaventura Power Co. Ltd. (SPBL) General Manager Frank Thiel, the initial target is to invest in a smaller-scale FSRU that could just have a capacity of roughly 200 megawatts.
SBPL is one of the corporate vehicles of EGCO on its power plant investments in the Philippines. It also owns the Quezon Power plant which is sited just beside San Buenaventura power facility, which started commercial operation recently.
Thiel indicated the company is in preliminary discussion with prospective FSRU supplier Excelerate Energy, an American company that was recently accorded with notice-to-proceed (NTP) on its planned LNG facility by the Department of Energy.
With the US firm’s NTP already granted by the government, it is seen that development prospects could already be easier once it firms up arrangement with prospective co-venture partners.
Thiel qualified that the gas facility’s siting is still being studied, but he said the primary anchor for such investment would be to provide flexibility in the targeted array of renewable energy (RE) installations in the country.
Gas is perceived as the “best match” to the dilemmas of some RE sources – primarily solar and wind – because gas technology’s fast ramp-up capability could take on the on-and-off generation of these RE technologies.
LNG is the next development domain the Thai firm has been eyeing for other projects in the Philippine energy sector – following its foray into coal-fired power facilities and targeted plunge also into renewable energy installations, primarily in the solar sector.
With its San Buenaventura and Quezon Power facilities, EGCO and partners have already poured in capital in the country for roughly 1,000 megawatts of capacity that have been contributing to the capacity being wheeled to the Luzon grid.
The energy department had given go-signal for investments in FSRU and onshore LNG import terminals, as it has been lining up these ventures as replacement to the much-anticipated decline and end of production at the Malampaya field of which service contract will lapse in 2024.