By Lenie Lectura – May 9, 2018
from Business Mirror
LOPEZ-LED First Gen Corp.’s planned $1-billion LNG (liquefied natural gas) facility is in its “most advanced state of development” compared to the LNG plans of other firms.
“Why do I say that? First of all, we went through years of technical feasibility. We spent millions of dollars in that technical feasibility. This year we just finished the site preparation where we elevated the site to be able to really begin construction. Beyond the site, we are negotiating with a shortlist of contractors. We are going to do an early contractor involvement…. We will be paying these contractors to do detailed engineering for the LNG terminal. That takes a long time,” First Gen President Francis Giles Puno said.
First Gen is among the 10 firms that informed the Department of Energy (DOE) of its interest to pursue an LNG investment. The Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC), another state firm, is currently entertaining partners for a plan to put up an integrated LNG terminal.
First Gen said it will pursue its LNG investment, but will entertain partners who will be assured of a “strong minority” interest in the venture.
“As you know, in the case of LNG, we’ve been proactively developing it in the last five years. In the case of the government, there are two discussions. One is with PNOC and one is with the Department of Energy. My understanding of the process that the DOE is actually the overseer of making sure there’s a coordination. One option that’s being created is that of the PNOC. PNOC, I think has had independent discussions with various parties,” Puno said.
“The process we’re going through is really with the DOE to say that we are really presenting to them the option that we have created. It is located in the First Gen Clean Energy Complex in Batangas. It’s our own,” Puno added.
First Gen is willing to take in partners, both foreign and local. Puno said a decision would be made this year.
“What we’re doing is because it’s not yet in a position where financing is imminent. We still haven’t locked in the partnership of both the foreign and locals. As you can imagine there’s a lot of interests to partner. It’s just us making sure that we make the decision at the right time,” Puno added.
“But our intention is to finalize the partnership arrangement within the year. One of our key deliverables for this year in 2018 is to announce who that partnership will be. We have to bring it partners who really we feel that they have skin in the game. They really need a material ownership into these assets before they can really proceed. It’s unfair to say that okay you’ll only have 5 percent or 10 percent. It has to be a bit meaningful and that commitment has to be there,” he said.
Construction for the planned LNG is targeted to start in 2019, with completion being eyed after four years.