A PANEL at the Department of Energy (DoE) is scheduled to review this week the application of Lopez-led First Gen Corp. to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal before the project proposal is submitted to the secretary for final approval.
DoE Undersecretary William Felix B. Fuentebella said the DoE’s centralized review and evaluation committee (CREC) is set to review First Gen’s proposal, which he said is likely to pass scrutiny and receive a “notice to proceed” from the the panel.
“Patapos na ’yung isa (It’s almost complete),” he said when asked about the status of the proposal at the DoE.
Asked whether First Gen is likely to receive a notice to proceed, he said: “I think so. Ipi-present pa ito sa (It will still be presented to) CREC. But the recommendation is buhay siya at maganda siya (it’s active and its good).”
On Dec. 21, 2018, First Gen said its subsidiary FGEN LNG Corp. had sought clearance from the DoE to proceed with the construction of the group’s LNG project. Earlier that month, the company announced the signing of a joint development agreement with Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. to pursue the import terminal project.
The agreement comes after recent pronouncements from the government describing LNG as vital to ensuring the country’s energy security once the Malampaya gas field is depleted.
Mr. Fuentebella said the project had been included in the agenda of CREC, which will decide on the project ahead of the formal issuance of a “notice to proceed.” He added that recommendations for the project appears to be “positive.”
Under First Gen’s proposal, Tokyo Gas will take a 20% participating interest in the LNG project and provide support in development work to achieve a final investment decision.
Upon reaching that decision under the joint development agreement, the parties will enter into a definitive agreement to proceed with the construction of the project, First Gen had said.
Mr. Fuentebella said another LNG project proposal, that of US-based Excelerate Energy L.P., was lacking the required supporting documents and might be disapproved.
The DoE previously said that Excelerate had filed on Dec. 27, 2018 its plan to build an LNG facility in the Philippines, making it the fourth company to do so.
The US company, which is based in Texas, plans to build a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) off the Batangas area, DoE officials had said.
The DoE approved the construction of the LNG projects proposed separately by Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. and Energy World Gas Operations Philippines Inc., the local unit of Australia’s Energy World Corp. Ltd. — Victor V. Saulon