By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor
PHOENIX Petroleum Philippines, Inc. on Tuesday said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) to develop a receiving terminal for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the country.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, Phoenix Petroleum said the memorandum was signed with CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of CNOOC.
“Phoenix Petroleum and CNOOC Gas and Power Group signed the MoU on June 5, 2018 in Manila to study, plan, and develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal project in the Philippines,” the company said.
The Chinese company is owned by CNOOC Ltd., which it described as “the largest offshore oil and gas company in China and is also one of the largest independent oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world.”
“The MoU for the LNG project will potentially broaden Phoenix Petroleum’s portfolio of new businesses, which now includes LPG, convenience retailing, asphalt, and e-transactions,” it said.
Phoenix Petroleum also told the stock exchange on Tuesday that its board of directors had approved and authorized the execution of a non-binding memorandum of understanding with CNOOC Gas and Power Group.
Asked for more details on the LNG project, Phoenix Petroleum’s Vice-President for External Affairs Raymond T. Zorrilla said the project is “still in the study and planning stage. Nothing we can share yet.”
Natural gas, said to be the cleanest fossil fuel, is usually transported through a pipeline, but if the deposit is large and the market is overseas, the gas may be liquefied for ease of shipping and moved via specialized tankers. Imported LNG is then regasified or reverted to its former state in the country of destination.
Should the project materialize, it would overshadow the recent acquisitions and partnerships forged by Dennis A. Uy under Phoenix Petroleum, where he is president and chief executive officer.
Last year, the company acquired Petronas Energy Philippines, Inc., now Phoenix LPG Philippines, Inc., immediately giving the company a share in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business. Mr. Uy also set up a trading office in Singapore.
Earlier this year, Phoenix Petroleum completed the acquisition of Philippine FamilyMart CVS, Inc., which holds the exclusive franchise to the Japanese convenience store brand. It has yet to firm up plans for the store, although company officials previously said the target location is Metro Manila’s central business districts and eventually Clark, Pampanga, which is a significant part of its portfolio.
Last month, Phoenix Petroleum broke ground for the asphalt facility it is building with local and foreign partners in Calaca, Batangas. The project, under Phoenix Asphalt Philippines, Inc., is the joint venture of Phoenix Petroleum with Thailand-based Tipco Asphalt Public Co. Ltd., and PhilAsphalt Development Corp.
Last week, Phoenix Petroleum bought a majority stake in digital transactions company Action.Able.
Established in 2002, Phoenix Petroleum started with a few gasoline stations in Davao City. Its successful expansion up north emboldened the company to challenge the big industry players.
It is among the few local companies that were quick to announce plans to build an LNG receiving terminal in anticipation of the depletion of the locally sourced Malampaya gas starting in 2024.
In April, Phinma Petroleum and Geothermal, Inc. said it was developing an LNG facility with a 120-megawatt (MW) power plant in Argao, Cebu. Company officials expect the project to be completed by 2022 to 2023.
Last month, Lopez-led First Gen Corp. said it was planning to invite diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) “within the year” to participate in its $1.2-billion LNG import facility. This came after the SMC President Ramon S. Ang expressed interest in a partnership.
On Tuesday, shares in Phoenix Petroleum jumped 4.17% to close at P12.50 each.