First Gen eyeing Japanese, European partners in $1-B LNG terminal project

by Myrna Velasco, 06 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation will likely corner Japanese or European partners on its planned $1.0 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal project that shall underpin the fuel needs of its planned three-tiered gas-fed power projects.

First Gen president Francis Giles Puno noted that local partners could also be worthy addition into the equity sharing in the venture.

The Lopez firm though indicated that it shall maintain majority shareholdings in the project once it is finally pushed into implementation phase.

“We have to decide next year who our partners will be…we’re looking at local and foreign partners,” Puno said.

He expounded “we are talking to a number of potential partners…some European, some are Japanese to see if we could fit together.”

Puno emphasized their LNG project design was already completed by its contractor – French firm Tractebel Engineering – thus, allowing them to finally set the project for tender to interested parties.

He stressed that decision point for the Lopez group on this large-scale gas infrastructure will likely be reached end of this year or at the latest early part of 2016.

“The nice thing about it is that the design of the LNG terminal is very detailed…you can bring that to the contractors because you have to bid that out…the only question is, when do we bid that out,” Puno said.

He said the facility would be an onshore terminal because it will be a ‘more beneficial design’ for the long-term gas needs of the Philippines.

“It’s an onshore terminal…there is sufficient supply of gas in the country, so in the long term, we assess that an onshore facility will be more viable,” Puno explained.

Three new Lopez-developed power plants will likely be catered to by the proposed LNG handling facility – the San Gabriel, Santa Maria and another “saint power plant” for an aggregate capacity of around 1,240 megawatts.

The first phase, which is the 414-MW San Gabriel project is targeted for commercial commissioning March next year; while the Santa Maria facility is anticipated on stream by 2017.