THE Philippines has bought its first-ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo, which will be delivered this month, bound for a new terminal that will fuel a 1,200-megawatt (MW) power plant, global energy trader Vitol said on Monday.

Vitol Asia Pte. Ltd., a supply and trading unit of Vitol Group, will supply the LNG cargo to San Miguel Global Power Holdings Corp. from its global LNG portfolio, Vitol said in a statement.

It did not disclose the volume and price.

The purchase comes after spot LNG prices in Asia fell sharply from all-time highs last year when Russia cut gas supplies to Europe following the Ukraine war and sparked a flurry of purchases by European nations.

Faced with declining output from its Malampaya natural gas field, the Philippines is the newest LNG buyer in the region as it seeks alternative fuel supply for existing gas-fired power plants producing more than 3,000 MW, including San Miguel Global’s 1,200-MW Ilijan power plant.

The LNG cargo will be delivered around mid-April to Singapore-based Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific’s (AG&P) import terminal in the Philippines.

“This is a significant milestone and we look forward to bringing more LNG supply from around the world to meet the rising gas demand of the Philippines,” said Vitol Asia president Mike Muller.

The Ilijan plant in Batangas province, 142 kilometers (88 miles) south of Manila, is among several power generation assets of San Miguel Global, a unit of Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

Ilijan’s power output is expected to significantly augment the country’s generation capacity in the face of rapidly increasing post-pandemic demand, Vitol said.

The plant has been undergoing repair works to improve its fuel efficiency and generation ramp rate since last year after gas supply from Malampaya ended, according to San Miguel.

AG&P’s import facility will be the first to come online among seven LNG terminal projects approved by the Philippine government. It will have annual capacity of five million tons. — Reuters