CONGLOMERATE San Miguel Corp. (SMC) intends to build more liquified natural gas (LNG) power plants with over 5,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity over the next years, its top official said.

SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., its power generation arm, recently issued $400 million worth of senior capital securities, which were listed at the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Ltd. on Oct. 22. Its net proceeds will be used to fund capital expenditures and investments in LNG and related assets, among others.

“We are now switching to LNG,” SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang told reporters in a virtual briefing on Tuesday.

The official said the power firm intends to initially build a line of three 850-MW LNG-fired generators. “Mga 2,550 MW ‘yan; ‘yun ang first stage namin (It’s around 2,550 MW; it will be our first stage),” he said.

“Later on, we can add another 2,550 MW, edi mga (thus around) 5,100 MW,” he added.

SMC Global Power, through its subsidiary South Premiere Power Corp. (SPPC), is the independent power producer administrator (IPPA) of the 1,200 MW Ilijan natural gas power plant in Batangas. Its IPPA contract with the government will lapse in 2022, turning the ownership of the facility to SPPC.

The new LNG power plants will also be constructed in Ilijan.

Mr. Ang claimed the first 850 MW will be seen “up and running” in the next 24 months or by 2022. It will offer the upcoming facility in Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) competitive selection process for its 1,800 MW power supply contract in 2024 and 2025. 

Earlier, the power company said it plans to build an LNG receiving terminal with Atlantic Gulf & Pacific Co. The gas-receiving facility is targeted to be opened in 2022.

Natural gas is the country’s second-biggest source of power, accounting for 21% of the total energy mix in 2019. The Philippines gets its supply from its sole natural gas field in Malampaya, northwest of Palawan.

The gas depot is expected to be completely depleted by 2027. The government targets the entry of LNG imports as an alternative. — Adam J. Ang