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Vires Energy obtains nod to proceed with LNG hub

The Department of Energy said over the weekend it approved the application of Vires Energy Corp., controlled by A Brown Company Inc., to proceed with its proposed integrated liquefied natural gas project in Batangas province.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement he was hoping the proponent would complete all the requirements within six months so that the Vires LNG project would proceed as scheduled.

“The proposed integrated natural gas-fired power plant and LNG storage and re-gasification terminal project of Vires Energy Corp. will boost the attainment of our vision to develop the Philippines as a LNG hub in the Southeast Asian region,” Cusi said.

The proposed LNG terminal and re-gasification project will consist of a turret mooring system for the floating storage re-gasification unit, a 1.6-kilometer subsea gas pipeline and a 500-megawatt floating power plant which will serve as an anchor market. It will also be the largest floating power plant in the country.

The project will utilize a land area classified as a “heavy industrial zone” for backup fuel supply of diesel during gas outage events.

Vires proposed to utilize the converted LNG tanker “BW Paris”, built in 2009 with a regasification capacity of up to 3 million tonnes per year and a 500-MW floating power plant.

The FSRU, with about 162,400 cubic meters of storage capacity, will be located 1.6 kilometers from the southeastern coastline of Batangas Bay in Barangay Simlong, Batangas City.

Cusi said securing an NTP is the first step in developing LNG terminals and other downstream natural gas projects, giving proponents the authority to secure all necessary permits and clearances.

The NTP, valid for six months, requires the proponent to comply with the NTP conditions, which include submitting to the DOE all relevant permits from various government agencies, endorsements from the local government units and proof of financial closing.

Vires expects to start the commercial operation of the integrated LNG terminal project by January 2023.

A Brown acquired last year 99.995 percent of the outstanding capital of Vires owned by Argo Group Pte. Ltd. of Singapore. for P50.2 million.

“The acquisition of Vires Energy reflects our confidence in the role of natural gas in providing for a clean and cost-effective energy source. We are excited to push the project forward,” A Brown chairman Walter Brown said earlier.

Vires was incorporated in 2015 and is the proponent for the integrated floating LNG terminal and power plant. It already secured the environmental compliance certificate for the project and also registered with the Board of Investments to avail of fiscal incentives.

Natural gas supply from Malampaya is expected to decline and reach its economic production threshold by 2024.

“The acquisition will increase the investment of the company and will increase revenue from the return on the investment in the future,” A Brown said earlier.

A Brown serves as the holding company of the Brown Group of Companies. It is primarily engaged in the business of real estate development in Cagayan de Oro City and Initao in Misamis Oriental; Cainta, Rizal; Valencia City, Bukidnon; and Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.

A Brown’s subsidiaries include Brown Resources Corp., Palm Thermal Consolidated Holdings Corp., Hydro Link Projects Corp. and PBI. Its affiliates include Masinloc Consolidated Power Inc., Peakpower Energy. and PhiGold Limited.

Topics: Department of Energy , Vires Energy Corp. , A Brown Company Inc. , liquefied natural gas
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