Seven foreign firms eye venture with PNOC for ambitious LNG hub

A total of seven foreign firms have submitted unsolicited proposals to the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) for a joint-venture partnership to build an ambitious liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the country.

PNOC Spokesman Ryan Tanjuatco said the proposals came from Kepco, Lloyds Energy, China National Offshore Oil Co., First Gen Corp., Energy World Corp., PT. Jaya Samudra Karunia and PT PGN LNG Indonesia/PT Bosowa Corporindo with their local partner MOF Corp.

However, Kepco’s proposal did not comply with the requirements of an unsolicited proposal, Tanjuatco said. “It was sent back, but Kepco did not resubmit.”

Lloyds Energy’s proposal was also returned. However, it submitted a revised proposal. “Llyod Energy resubmitted ahead of the other proponents and their proposal is the one being currently evaluated,” Tanjuatco said.

In all, the PNOC has received six unsolicited proposals to date. The financial and technical proposals of the interested groups would be forwarded to PNOC’s consultant for evaluation, according to Tanjuatco.

The state firm was earlier eyeing to tap the Asian Development Bank as consultant for the LNG project.

Wave, glut

CITING Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Bloomberg said the LNG industry needs to start planning for shortages even as analysts project a glut starting next year.

The next wave of LNG projects is set to begin as early as this year, Bernstein analysts, including Neil Beveridge, said in a report last Thursday. That’s a more aggressive timetable than the firm made in September, when it said investment decisions for the next group of plants wouldn’t come until 2019.

Energy companies will approve investments for more than 150 million tons a year of new supply capacity over the next four years, according to the report. By comparison, global consumption was 286 million tons in 2017. Projects in Qatar, Papua New Guinea, Russia and the United States are most economically appealing, followed by Mozambique, Australian expansion projects and an Alaskan mega-project, Bernstein said. Demand grew by about 10 percent last year, led by emerging markets and especially China, where coal-to-gas switching policies have the country on track to surpass Japan as the world’s biggest LNG importer by 2030, Beveridge said. New projects coming online over the next few years will result in excess production capacity of as much as 54 million tons in 2020, but the market will remain tight in winter when demand increases.

Malampaya issue

THE PNOC was earlier tasked by the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop an integrated-LNG hub with storage, liquefaction, re-gassification and distribution facility, as well as a reserve initial power-plant capacity of 200 megawatts (MW).

LNG is natural gas that has been converted into a liquid state for easier storage and transportation. Upon reaching its destination, LNG is regassified so it can be distributed through pipelines as natural gas.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the government is aiming to turn the Philippines into a hub for LNG, amid a depletion of natural gas from the Malampaya gas field in Palawan in less than a decade. Currently, around 3,500 MW of power-plant capacity is dependent on the country’s sole natural gas source.

“We’ve started with the rollout of the Batangas LNG terminal by 2020 to safeguard against the anticipated depletion of the Malampaya gas facility in 2024,” Cusi earlier said.

Other areas being considered for LNG hub, Cusi said, are “many areas in Mindanao and in Subic.”

The DOE has scheduled the groundbreaking for the country’s first LNG hub in 2018, with project completion still being eyed within the six-year term of President Duterte.