Philippines greenlights seventh LNG project, gears up for gas imports
MANILA, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The Philippines' Department of Energy said on Friday it has approved a $67-million LNG import terminal project, the country's seventh such facility, as it gears up for the launch of its liquefied natural gas industry this year.
The DOE said in a statement it has issued a notice to proceed to Samat LNG Corp, which plans to construct a small-scale LNG terminal in Mariveles municipality in Bataan province, about 60 kilometres (35.2 miles) north of the capital Manila.
The Southeast Asian country will need to rely on LNG imports to fuel gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts, as output from its Malampaya gas field in the South China Sea is expected to continue declining and be depleted by 2027.
Aside from importing LNG for power generation and transport sectors, the Philippines is also ramping up efforts to discover new indigenous gas resources, as it seeks to phase out coal-fired power plants.
Under its proposal, Samat LNG aims to begin commercial operation by the first half of 2024, with a capacity of 200,000-400,000 tonnes of LNG annually. It plans to supply gas to fuel small-scale power producers, manufacturing companies, and transport fleets.
Three of the government-approved LNG import terminal projects are expected to begin commercial operations this year, including those of Singapore-based Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific and Philippine power producer First Gen Corp (FGEN.PS).
Australia-listed Energy World Corp's (EWC.AX) LNG terminal is also almost complete, according to Laura Saguin, head of the DOE's natural gas management division.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, in an interview with Reuters in October, said allowing LNG imports should not be seen as a disincentive to renewable energy development, which the government has been supporting.
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