First Gen, Tokyo Gas secure PH gov't approval for LNG project

ABS-CBN News and Kyodo News

Posted at Mar 12 2019 02:53 PM

First Gen Corp's natural gas plant in Batangas. ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- First Gen Corp said it was waiting for formal notice on the Department of Energy's decision allowing it to proceed with a natural gas project with Tokyo Gas Co.

First Gen said its unit, FGEN LNG Corp, applied for a notice to proceed with the construction of an LNG Terminal in Batangas City, according to a stock exchange filing dated March 8.

Tokyo Gas in a separate statement on Tuesday that it obtained, together with First Gen, the Philippine government's approval for the project.

Japan's largest gas utility plans to own a 20 percent stake of the project, aiming to commence operation in 2023, Tokyo Gas spokesman Noriyoshi Ibara in Tokyo told NNA on Monday.

Tokyo Gas and First Gen submitted the LNG terminal plan to the Department of Energy last December. Although the consortium gained the permit, "We have yet to make a final investment decision," the spokesman said without elaborating.

The new terminal will have an annual capacity of 5.26 million tons, according to Rino Abad, director of the department's oil industry management bureau. Local media said investment costs were estimated at $10 billion.

Manila has so far approved two other LNG hubs development projects, but the Tokyo Gas-First Gen venture is the largest in capacity size.

First Gen operates four gas-fired power plants in the province, south of Manila, by sourcing natural gas from the Malampaya gas field off the coast of Palawan Island.

Also the nation's largest natural gas buyer, First Gen has decided to build the gas import terminal as local supplies are feared to become depleted as early as 2024.

First Gen aims to firm up contractors, costs and other arrangements "within the year" to proceed the plan by next year, company president Francis Giles Puno was quoted by BusinessMirror as saying.

First Gen is a sister company of ABS-CBN Corp in the Lopez Group.