First Gen Corp. has received the go-ahead from the Department of Energy (DoE) to build its proposed interim offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Batangas City.

In a statement on Friday, First Gen said its wholly-owned subsidiary FGEN LNG Corp. was given the permit to construct, expand, rehabilitate, and modify its LNG terminal on Sept. 23.

The company filed for the regulatory permit in March, which consists of modifying its existing jetty and building an onshore gas receiving facility at its clean energy complex in Batangas City.

FGEN LNG is targeting to begin construction by the end of the third quarter or early fourth quarter.

“We are thankful to (Energy) Secretary (Alfonso G.) Cusi, and to the Downstream Natural Gas Review and Evaluation Committee of the DoE, for the support and guidance that they have provided during the evaluation process, …and for issuing the (permit),” First Gen Executive Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan C. Russell said in the statement.

With the development, the company targets to introduce LNG to the Philippines by the third quarter of 2022.

FGEN LNG is also inviting providers of Floating Storage and Regasification Units — or the storage ships that allow energy to be transferred from the ocean — to support its LNG terminal project in Batangas. It said three bidders have so far expressed interest in the project.

“FGEN LNG believes the project will play a critical role in ensuring the energy security of the Luzon Grid and the Philippines, particularly as the indigenous Malampaya gas resource is expected to be less reliable…,” it said.

“The entry of LNG will encourage new power plant developments, as well as industrial and transport industries, to consider it as a replacement to more costly and polluting fuels,” it added.

First Gen booked an attributable net income of $132.91 million in the first half of 2020, down from 20% a year ago, due to a decline in electricity sales in the second quarter.

Shares in the listed firm shed 35 centavos or 1.46% to P23.60 each on Friday. — Denise A. Valdez