THE Department of Energy (DoE) said liquefied natural gas (LNG) resources will play a crucial role during the development of renewable energy (RE) resources and infrastructure.

“Exploration and development of these (renewable energy) resources including the building of necessary infrastructure will certainly take time, making it essential to have a reliable energy transition source in the meantime,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said in his speech on Tuesday at a forum organized by Stratbase ADR and CitizenWatch Philippines.

“This is where LNG plays a crucial role, serving as a cleaner substitute for traditional fossil fuels and a more reliable source than renewable energy,” he added.

Mr. Lotilla said the government is pursuing “a robust natural gas strategy” to offset the variability of renewable energy.

He  added  that  the  Philippine Energy Plan 2023-2050 aims to strengthen the enabling environment for investment and innovation in LNG.

As of May, the DoE had issued four permits to construct and three notices to proceed to proponents of LNG terminals, Mr. Lotilla said.

The proponents that were issued permits to construct are FGEN LNG Corp., Linseed Field Corp., Energy World Gas Operations Philippines, Inc. Corp., and Luzon LNG Terminal, Inc.

The three that were issued notices to proceed are Samat LNG Corp., Shell Energy Philippines, Inc., and Vires Energy Corp.

Linseed and FGEN LNG commissioned their LNG import terminals in Batangas last year.

Currently, the two LNG facilities can support around 8,000 megawatts worth of power-generating capacity, Mr. Lotilla said.

“The DoE is also formulating a Natural Gas Development Plan to provide investors guidance and policy, the legal requirements, and incentives in putting up LNG facilities and other infrastructure requirements, including our future development plans and programs,” he said.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, vice chairman of the Senate committee energy, said “collaborative efforts of the public and private sectors are crucial in embracing cleaner energy sources like liquefied natural gas.”

Mr. Gatchalian said that he filed the Midstream Natural Gas Industry Development Bill to “fill in the gaps and strengthen existing bridge policies to unlock the potential of natural gas as a vital source of energy for the country.”

Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte, convenor of CitizenWatch Philippines, said that the declining reserves of the Malampaya gas field, the country’s sole natural gas source, underscore the urgency of establishing reliable LNG infrastructure.

“However, the global supply tightness and the lack of long-term contracts make this a challenging endeavor… This legislation will provide the framework to attract the right investors, ensure transparent pricing mechanisms, and establish cost-saving measures that protect consumers from market volatility,” Mr. Belmonte said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera