UPDATE 1-Planned $2 bln LNG project in Philippines put on hold

MANILA, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Plans for the $2 billion Tanglawan LNG hub venture in the Philippines have been put on hold by backers CNOOC Gas and Power of China and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc.

The facility was supposed to have a capacity of 2.2 million tonnes per year, with a targeted start-up by 2023. To support it, Phoenix also planned to build a 2,000-megawatt (MW) power plant.

The two firms jointly requested the Department of Energy (DOE) put the project on hold after Phoenix parent Udenna Corp acquired a 45% stake in the Malampaya natural gas consortium, Phoenix said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Phoenix now wanted to “reassess” its gas venture and would submit a “new concept” to the Department of Energy, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told the BusinessWorld newspaper.

Oil and shipping group Udenna said last month it had signed a deal to acquire Chevron’s 45% stake in the Malampaya gas-to-power project.

Developed and operated by Shell Philippines Exploration BV, Malampaya provides fuel for power plants with a combined capacity of more than 3,000 MW.

Shell holds a 45% stake and state-owned Philippines National Oil Company holds the remaining 10%.

The Malampaya gas field in the South China Sea is expected to be depleted within the next decade, but its operations may go beyond the 2024 expiry of Shell’s contract with the government, as further development is likely to be pursued.

Shell has requested a contract extension, optimistic that Malampaya can produce gas beyond 2024.

A Phoenix spokesman declined to comment.

Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Jason Neely