Philippine Energy Chief Says LNG Projects Still on Track Despite Virus Delays

MANILA (Reuters) — Four LNG import terminal projects in the Philippines are currently in various stages of approvals and financial closures, still on track despite "minor delays" caused by the coronavirus restrictions, the country's energy chief said on Thursday. 

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told Reuters in a text message that he was closely monitoring the activities of four proponents of LNG import and storage facilities to ensure that they meet commissioning targets.

"These projects are moving in varying stages of permitting from other government agencies, and/or financial closing prior to filing an application for the permit to construct," he said.

The Southeast Asian country will rely on imported liquefied natural gas to feed some of its power plants running on supply from its Malampaya gas field in western Philippine waters, expected to dry up within the next few years, and new units. 

The projects of First Gen Corp, U.S.-based Excelerate Energy LP, Batangas Clean Energy Inc, and Australia-listed Energy World Corp were still in the pipeline.

First Gen has had talks with Tokyo Gas Co Ltd to build a LNG terminal in Batangas province, near its four 2,100-megawatt gas-fired units. 

Excelerate plans a floating LNG terminal, while Batangas Clean Energy of billionaire Lucio Tan has proposed a 1,100-MW power plant alongside a LNG import terminal.

Energy World aims to put online next year a 650-MW LNG-fueled power plant in Quezon province, near its LNG receiving plant.

However, projects proposed by Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc, which had partnership talks with CNOOC Gas and Power of China, and SMC Global Power Holdings Corp, a unit of San Miguel Corp, were excluded from the government's list. 

Plans for Phoenix's $2 billion LNG hub has been put on hold, while San Miguel's project has yet to get government approval.

San Miguel, which operates a 1,200-MW gas-fueled unit, is partnering with Atlantic Gulf & Pacific for its LNG project.

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