DOE certifies P44-B LNG investments

Published November 9, 2020, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Two liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, with combined investments of P44 billion, had been issued certifications by the Department of Energy (DOE) as “energy project of national significance” or EPNS that will entitle them to streamlined process of permitting.

            One of those issued with certificate of energy project of national significance (CEPNS) is the P37.553 billion Batangas Clean Energy Inc. project of billionaire Lucio Tan and its American firm partner Gen X Energy – and that will cover integrated investments for onshore LNG import terminal as well as anchor power projects.

           As EPNS venture, the qualified projects shall be afforded 30-day approval process on their permits as sanctioned under Executive Order No. 30 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.

           The energy department specified that the EPNS certifications for the Batangas Clean Energy LNG import facility and the proposed combined cycle power plant projects had been issued separately.

           The 3.0 mtpa onshore LNG import terminal will be sited close to the distilleries of the Tan group — Tanduay and Asia Brewery — at Pinamucan Ibaba in Batangas City.

           Upon completion of the import terminal as targeted in 2025, the LNG facility will provide fuel to 1,100 megawatts of gas-fired power generating facilities that will cater to the future energy needs of the Tan-owned distilleries as well as the JG Summit petrochemical complex of the Gokongwei group in Batangas.

          The wider market being eyed by the company is to sell capacity to Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distribution firm – and that could be concretized if the Tan-led LNG firm will be joining the competitive selection process (CSP) of the utility firm.

          Another EPNS-certified LNG project is the floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) import facility of Texas-headquartered firm Excelerate Energy, which is targeting to be the first player to bring LNG into the Philippines by second quarter of 2022.

         Excelerate Energy’s project design allows third party access (TPA) on its LNG import facility, therefore, it will be catering to multiple buyers of gas, such as power plants as well as industrial users.

         Aside from these LNG facilities, the DOE similarly bestowed CEPNS to the Bacon-Manito geothermal expansion project of Energy Development Corporation (EDC) that could yield additional 49MW into its portfolio.

         Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted that while the cost of gas continues to track downward trend, “We need to think of how we can ride this LNG wave, to ensure that we can safeguard our energy security.”

         For the Philippine energy market, he admitted that it is still at starting point when it comes to LNG investments and in re-integrating this technology into the country’s energy mix.

         “We’ve started doing just that in the Philippines. We’ve started with the rollout of the Batangas LNG terminal by 2020 to safeguard against the anticipated depletion of the Malampaya gas facility by 2024,” the energy chief said.