American firm eyeing LNG investments in PH

By Myrna M. Velasco – July 16, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

New York-headquartered New Fortress Energy is the latest investor that approached the Department of Energy (DoE) for prospective investment in an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to be integrated with a gas-fired power facility.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi  (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Beyond the LNG terminal and power plant component, one technology solution that the company has been offering is on LNG-powered trains – which the Philippines may be enticed to tap in line with the rail systems being developed under the Build, Build, Build infrastructure development paradigm of the Duterte administration.

The executives of the American firm are in the country this week and have held meetings with the DoE and state-run Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) on targeted LNG investments.

“They (executives of New Fortress Energy) came this morning (on Tuesday) and we referred them to PNOC,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has confirmed.

The energy department indicated that one potential partnership the New York firm has been pursuing is with PNOC, the state-owned energy company which has been reviving its abruptly interrupted foray into LNG projects.

So far, this is the second American energy firm advancing targeted ventures in the country’s gas sector – the other one had been Texas-based Excelerate Energy which had applied for notice-to-proceed (NTP) with the DoE for its propounded floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) LNG facility.

New Fortress Energy reportedly indicated to the DoE that it has customized solutions for various LNG projects, including supply of gas; conversion of existing plants into gas-fired assets as well as development of greenfield LNG power facilities.

But as had been enforced on all other project proponents for LNG import terminals, the American firm will also need to file its application for NTP with the energy department before it can be given go-signal to implement planned projects.

If the company will partner with state-run PNOC, among those that the latter could bargain in the negotiating table is its offer of project site; and it has likewise been dangling its ‘banked gas’ into the business deal.

Just last month, PNOC signed its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Dubai-based firm Lloyds Energy for targeted FSRU project that will also integrate power plant component.

Project details of that targeted venture had not been unveiled yet to the media – except on the plan to prospectively install up to 1,000 megawatts of gas-fired power capacity.

While there are various companies now setting their sights on LNG projects in the Philippines, it remains to be seen which ones will really advance and make it to the finish line or which ones would be able to achieve commercial operations of targeted facilities.