First Gen Corp. of the Lopez Group plans to start the construction of a $1-billion liquefied natural gas receiving, storage and re-gasification terminal in Batangas by early 2018, its top official said Thursday.
First Gen president Francis Giles Puno told reporters at the sidelines of an energy summit the company would release the tender documents for the engineering, procurement and construction contract of the LNG terminal by early 2017.
“We already started, essentially, construction the of LNG by site preparation. We’re also bidding out the EPC. Tender of EPC is by next year,” Puno told reporters, adding his company has short-listed five contractors.
Puno said the company was also expected to finalize agreements with joint venture partners in the project by the first half of 2017.
The company is presently in talks with eight companies as potential partners.
“We’re going through a partner selection process We’ve been talking to Japanese, European players as partners. What we’ve been doing is spending time with them to see what the fit is (and) chemistry of the partnership,” he said.
Puno said First Gen was expected hope to conclude the joint venture structure around the end of 2017.
The company is focusing on the LNG terminal and the joint venture partnership prior to proceeding with additional expansion plans.
“We’re focusing now on LNG and the partnership. But the partnership will also probably be co-investors in Sta Maria (natural gas expansion project) in the future as well,” Puno said.
Puno said First Gen was also open to a partnership with state-owned companies.
“We have to really also enter into discussions with government as to who will really build the terminal. For me, there is a grand opportunity for this administration to make it their legacy investment, to develop a LNG terminal in this term,” he said.
He said First Gen might take “multiple partners” in the project, with the company holding a majority stake.
Puno said the terminal would be capable of supplying First Gen’s existing natural gas facilities, future expansion and the Ilijan power plant in Batangas.
Puno earlier said the company was preparing for the end of the Malampaya contract. The Malampaya gas project in northwest Palawan currently powers three natural gas plants with a combined capacity of 2,700 MW. The field’s reserves are expected to be depleted by 2024.
“We have enough time to build the LNG regas in time for the expiration,” Puno said.
First Gen earlier tapped Tractebel Engineering of France to do the detailed design of the LNG terminal.
First Gen owns the 1,000- MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo natural gas power plants in Batangas. It recently completed the 100 MW-Avion and 414-MW San Gabriel natural gas power plants.
It also owns hydro facilities as well as solar and geothermal power plants under unit Energy Development Corp.