FIRST Gen Corp. and Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) are exploring the possibility of working together in putting up a billion-dollar LNG (liquefied natural-gas) terminal, a plan conceived by the Lopez Family.
“[First Gen] has started talking with PNOC, but [First Gen] has yet to approach the DOE [Department of Energy],” said Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada, when asked if the government is open to taking a stake in the LNG project of First Gen.
“If it’s a pipeline related to LNG, then that is really a government project. If it’s a terminal, it’s not necessary. Pero kung mapapaayos ang implementation ng project or ang operation nito na kasama ang government, then why not?” Monsada said.
First Gen, through its subsidiaries, has put up two gas plants—the 1,000-megawatt Santa Rita, which is operated by First Gas Power Corp., and the 500-MW San Lorenzo of FGP Corp.
A third gas plant—the 97-MW Avion open-cycle natural gas-fired power plant of Prime Meridian Powergen Corp.—and the 414-MW San Gabriel combined-cycle natural-gas plant of First NatGas Power Corp. are expected to start commercial operation in the first half and second half of the year, respectively.
All gas plants are located in Batangas City.
First Gen Chairman Federico Lopez said last week these plants would provide the necessary scale and anchor load for what could be the country’s first LNG import terminal by 2022.
“We are quite enthusiastic about this project, as it will enable the Philippines to have scalable, lower-carbon alternatives to imported coal for its future power needs,” he said.
First Gen President Francis Giles Puno said the LNG terminal’s planned construction and operation is in preparation for the eventual exhaustion of the Malampaya gas field projected between 2022 and 2024, and to secure the future of the company’s natural-gas platform.
The LNG terminal’s Front-end-Engineering Design is currently in the third revision stage. Potential suppliers have been engaged.
“A partner of the LNG project is not needed yet. The plan this year is to conduct site preparation, which would cost around $30 million, and to start tendering process for EPC [engineering, procurement, construction] by early next year,” Puno said.
LNG is natural gas that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transportation. It is regasified so it can be distributed through pipelines as natural gas.
First Gen, the largest Philippine operator of gas-fired power plants in the country, owns and operates 19 power plants with 2,959-MW capacity, accounting for 23 percent of the country’s gross-power generation.