The Energy Department issued a notice to FGen LNG Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Gen Corp., to proceed with a $1-billion liquefied natural gas project in Batangas City in partnership with Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said he signed the notice to proceed Thursday morning.
“Tokyo Gas, also the Japanese government, have been watching, pursuing this in any economic, ministerial meetings here and in Japan. That is always part of the subject matter,” Cusi said.
“Late last month, we were in Japan, together with Undersecretary Donato Marcos and other secretaries. That again was taken up. So I said, hopefully when I go back to Manila, it will be ready for my signature. I’m happy to say that we have signed the NTP,” Cusi said.
Cusi said FGEN has no overlapping market with Tanglawan Philippine LNG Inc., the consortium of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines and CNOOC Gas and Power Group Co. Ltd., which was also given an NTP for a separate LNG project.
“No [overlapping market], otherwise we will not have approved it. It was approved because they have a different business model and they can stand and live up to their business model,” Cusi said. Alena Mae S. Flores
First Gen president Francis Giles Puno said the NTP was a “positive development.”
“The next phase is the selection of the contractor. The main reason for selecting the contractor is to firm up the cost of the project…Hopefully, we move towards financing close,” he said.
Puno said First Gen was expecting to complete the partnership arrangement within the year and start the construction of the project next year.
“We’re going through this phase now with the final design of the facility and then hopefully we make a decision on the contractor. In the meantime, we’re also looking at other partners that are available,” he said.
Puno said other foreign investors expressed interest in joining the project.
“For me, it improves our likelihood to be able to proceed with the project,” he said.
“I think I can say is that we’re just flexible because we need to make sure it proceeds. But fortunately, it’s not the lack of interest from other investors. It’s in a way a good position because there seems to be a lot of interest,” he said.
Puno said First Gen was looking at a capacity of about 3 million to 5 million metric tons of LNG depending on the shipment and the usage.