VIRES Energy Corp. has secured clearance from the Energy department to proceed with its planned gas-fired power plant, which is integrated with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification facility, in Batangas province.

In a press release over the weekend, the Department of Energy (DoE) said it had approved on April 22 the “notice to proceed” for the application of Vires Energy to develop the integrated natural gas-fired power plant and LNG terminal project.

DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the project “will boost the attainment of our vision to develop the Philippines as a LNG hub in the Southeast Asian region.”

A notice to proceed (NTP) is the first step for a company that seeks to develop an LNG terminal or other downstream natural gas projects in the Philippines, the DoE said.

Firms holding an NTP are required to submit relevant permits from various government agencies, endorsements from the local government units, and proof of financial closing to the DoE within six months.

Mr. Cusi said that he hopes Vires Energy will be able to complete all the requirements before the firm’s NTP expires.

Vires Energy’s planned floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) will have a storage capacity of around 162,400 cubic meters, which will be located 1.6 kilometers (km) from the Batangas Bay coastline. The FSRU is a converted LNG tanker with a regasification capacity of up to 3 million tons per annum.

An FSRU contains an onboard regasification plant, which can turn LNG back to gas. Natural gas is typically liquefied for ease of transport.

In its statement, the DoE said that Vires Energy’s LNG terminal and regasification project will have a turret mooring system for its FSRU, a 1.6 km subsea gas pipeline, and a 500-megawatt floating power plant, which will serve as an anchor market.

It said the project will also use a land area classified as a “heavy industrial zone” for backup fuel supply of diesel fuel during gas outage events.

Vires Energy has targeted the commercial run of its integrated LNG project by January 2023.

The approval of its NTP application comes around three months after a DoE official identified Vires Energy as one of the potential investors that wished to build a floating facility for imported gas.

In a Senate hearing in January, DoE Assistant Secretary Leonido J. Pulido, III said that the department held a pre-application conference with Vires Energy and Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co., among others, for their plan to bring in an FSRU.

Vires Energy is owned by Cagayan de Oro-based listed company A Brown Co., Inc. — Angelica Y. Yang