Published January 12, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is offering funding to the various liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure facilities that the state-run Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) will be pursuing as part of its mandate moving forward.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted this was the initial discussion they had on this week’s courtesy visit of JBIC officials led by its chief executive officer Tadashi Maeda.
“JBIC is interested to fund the gas projects of PNOC, including the LNG terminal and regas facility in Batangas…it will be an onshore LNG import terminal,” he said.
Cusi said he prefers that the setting up of LNG import facility as well as distribution networks be government-led through PNOC – that is in line with what the Department of Energy (DOE) envisions as a “common carrier” gas infrastructure chain.
“That is the direction I have given to PNOC… and President (Reuben) Lista already started work on firming up their project plans.”
He said the initial venture will be the proposed 200-megawatt LNG power facility, to be sited also in Batangas and targeting the power needs of economic zones as key market.
Singaporean firm Sembcorp Power has so far expressed interest to join PNOC in the gas-fired power project, the energy chief said.
The import terminal, Cusi added, shall be constructed proximate to the plant. “The proposal is to set up the LNG import terminal and regas facility not just for the needs of the PNOC gas plant, but also cater to the LNG supply requirements of other gas-fired power plants.”
Cusi said with the PNOC-sponsored import facility, gas supply may be made available already to the gas plants on the next Malampaya shutdown, thus, “the country’s power supply would no longer be as vulnerable as what we are experiencing now.”
The other targeted “core market” of LNG importation will be off-grid areas that have been opting for fuel shift. LNG distribution and consumption can already be done in smaller volumes for these domains with the “break bulk” shipments now becoming a largely “economically feasible” practice in gas markets.
And with the much-anticipated depletion of gas resource at the Malampaya field, the LNG import facility will become an even more valuable and strategic infrastructure for the country’s gas industry.
The planned Batangas-Manila (BatMan) high pressure gas pipeline will no longer be the priority in the order of project implementations. “That is no longer needed for now because the initial anchor load plant will now be constructed just beside the terminal,” the energy secretary explained.