LNG hub project to be launched in mid-May — DoE

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PHOENIX PETROLEUM Philippines, Inc. and the state firms of China and the Philippines are set to launch by May 13 the liquefied natural gas (LNG) hub project that they plan to jointly develop to serve the requirements of the country, government officials said.

“They are looking at having a ground-breaking early part of May.

Hinahabol natin ’yung two-year na magkaroon ng partial operation para by 2024 there is already a substitute for LNG in case wala na ’yung Malampaya,” Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters last week.

The target launch date comes after Phoenix Petroleum, China’s CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd. (CNOOC G&P) and Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Feb. 28 to jointly explore business opportunities related to the project.

“The group is being encouraged to sana — it’s a dream, I hope we can do it — sana bago mag May 13 makapag-groundbreaking kami,” said PNOC President and Chief Executive Officer Reuben S. Lista last week.

The MoU signing, which came after a series of engagement talks among the three parties, will allow them to explore and discuss business opportunities and cooperation in relation to the equity investment in Tanglawan Philippine LNG, Inc., the project entity for the LNG project.

“The three parties will be discussing the business and commercial sharing,” said Mr. Cusi, who chairs PNOC. “Ang DoE, hindi na kami makikialam do’n (The DoE will not meddle).

Phoenix Petroleum previously said that the LNG hub project would break ground through its regasification and receiving terminal with a capacity of 2.2 metric tons per annum within the year. Commercial operations is targeted to start by 2023.

The facility is aimed at supporting the demand for a clean, competitive, and environment-friendly energy source in Luzon, and provide energy security for the country. It also plans to include the development of a gas-fired power generation facility.

“We have already issued the NTP (notice to proceed) for Tanglawan-CNOOC, and they are now partnering with PNOC,” Mr Cusi said.

Ang pinag-uusapan pa lang namin ’yung LNG. Hindi pa namin pinag-uusapan ’yung banked gas,” Mr. Lista said.

He said the talks on the banked gas was just mentioned in passing in relation to the plan of Phoenix Petroleum to build a gas-fired power plant that is integral to the LNG hub project.

“It’s still part of the negotiation,” he said, adding that Phoenix Petroleum was the one making a study whether it would buy the banked gas. — Victor V. Saulon