Gov’t to lead LNG terminal construction, says Cusi


The government is eyeing the development of the country’s first liquefied natural gas terminal to support the operations of the Malampaya gas project in Palawan upon the end of its contract, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said on Tuesday.

“Malampaya (consortium) should initiate the renewal if they want to renew because at the end of the term, it reverts back to the government. What we are doing is preparing for any eventuality,” he said.

Cusi expressed the department’s efforts to assure the continuous operations of the Malampaya facility, which supplies fuel to three natural gas power plants in Batangas with 2,700 megawatts (MW) worth of capacity.

The energy secretary earlier said that Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) will study the development of a 200-MW LNG power plant in Batangas that will cater to the country’s energy needs. (Read: DOE eyes 200-MW LNG plant for emergency power supply)

“We will make that LNG farm in Batangas to supply gas-to-power plants. PNOC initiated the study but now there are a lot of interest in the private sector. We are open to that. Whatever is best for the country, that’s the direction we will take,” Cusi said.

He added that the construction of the power plant might be funded through the PNOC since the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is prohibited from establishing new stations under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

He added that the department is eyeing all options, including the privatization of the Malampaya facility.

“We are required to have some reserve so we just want to make sure that we have a reserve… We’re looking at Batangas. PNOC has a property in Batangas so we’re using that in our study,” Cusi said, adding that establishing a 200-MW coal plant would take a longer time than an LNG plant.

“We’re still in the study portion. But I’m not saying the study will take 12-18 months. We’re rushing it. (Construction is) 12 to 18 months from the time we finish the study. Hopefully, we finish the study within any time now so we can bring it to the board,” he said.