EXCELERATE ENERGY LP said Wednesday its preparations to build an offshore liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal project in Batangas are nearly complete and that it will seek a permit to start construction “soon” from the government.

“We will submit our Permit to Construct, Expand, Rehabilitate and Modify (PCERM) to the DoE (Department of Energy) soon, which is the next step in bringing this nationally-important facility online as early as the (second) quarter of 2022,” Ramon Wangdi, president of Excelerate Energy subsidiary Luzon LNG Terminal, Inc., said in a statement.

Excelerate, a US company which makes floating LNG transfer and storage facilities, has teamed up with Topline Energy & Power Development Corp. to develop the Filipinas LNG Gateway Project, which received its notice to proceed by the DoE in September 2019.

The terminal, which will be built 9.5 kilometers offshore in Batangas Bay, will feature an Excelerate floating storage regasification unit, which converts LNG shipped as a liquid into gas form for use by power plants. It will have a capacity of five million tons of LNG annually, accounting for up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) of power when used by baseload power plants.

Once operational, the terminal will offer open, third-party access to all gas users in Luzon, and allow the industry “unfettered access to the global LNG marketplace,” Mr. Wangdi said.

Under the open-access model, gas users can enter into short-term contracts for quantities that meet their specific requirements. “This method is highly efficient as there is less wasted capacity due to under-utilization,” he said.

Excelerate Energy has operated offshore gas import terminals in 13 countries, including facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic, Israel, and the Bay of Bengal.

LNG imports are viewed as an alternative to the depleting reserves in the Philippines’ sole natural gas field in Malampaya, northwest of Palawan. The Malampaya field, which accounted for 3,200 MW worth of electricity last year, is expected to be depleted by 2027, according to DoE estimates.

The government has so far signed off on LNG terminal projects proposed by the LT Group in partnership with Blackstone Group’s affiliate Gen X Energy, the First Gen Corp. and Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. venture, and Energy World Gas Operations Philippines, Inc. Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is also working to construct a similar project.

Excelerate’s target entry of imported LNG products is earlier than First Gen’s target of the third quarter in 2022. First Gen will be constructing its LNG terminal within the last quarter of this year after recently securing a construction permit from the DoE.

“Under almost any scenario, we see LNG playing an important role in supporting rapidly growing economies such as the Philippines that want to grow its energy supply reliably, competitively, and cleanly,” Mr. Wangdi said.

“In the long run, we believe the terminal’s strategic offshore location will allow for Filipinas LNG to act as an LNG distribution hub for delivery of natural gas to end-users across the Philippines,” he added. — Adam J. Ang