THE Department of Energy (DoE) said there was a “mis-appreciation” on the part of representatives of the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) on a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility, prompting him to postpone the budget inquiry into the DoE’s commercial arm.

“I asked for a deferment of the discussion because the representative said a property will be bought,” DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said, referring to the P500 million being sought by PNOC during a Senate hearing last week.

He said he asked lawmakers to defer the discussion on PNOC’s budget because he was not aware of the proposed land acquisition.

“I will have to take it up [first] with the PNOC management and the board,” said Mr. Cusi, who chairs the PNOC board.

Last week, the Senate questioned a budget of about P500 million being sought by state-owned PNOC, citing the lack of a feasibility study that would ensure revenue for the government after it issues the funds.

Mr. Cusi said there could have been a mis-appreciation about the project, which is why he asked for a deferment of the budget inquiry because he needed to check some details.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, earlier asked why PNOC was asking for funds for a proposed LNG facility without first coming up with a feasibility study. He said PNOC should have asked instead for funds to conduct the study.

“How can we allocate P500 million for something that we don’t know if it will make money or not because it was explained to us that P500 million will be used to invest in an LNG terminal,” he said.

He said if the government will invest in a project, it should earn returns from it.

“Give us first the feasibility study, explain to us this vision of LNG terminal or LNG hub and let’s see if its feasible for the government,” he said, partly in Filipino. — Victor V. Saulon