First Gen Corp. of the Lopez Group said over the weekend it plans to complete the 1,200-megawatt Santa Maria natural gas power plant in Batangas by late 2024 or early 2025.
“Santa Maria is a 1,200-MW natural gas-fired power plant tFirst Gen Corphat is part of FGen’s pipeline of projects. Previously, we have pre-invested in certain common infrastructure and currently we are carrying out pre-development works and securing permits for the project,” First Gen president Francis Giles Puno said.
Puno said the development of the FGEN liquefied natural gas terminal would pave the way for the Santa Maria project, which, if needed, could be online by late 2024 or early 2025.
He said the LNG project would play a critical role to ensure the energy security of the Luzon Grid and the Philippines as the Malampaya gas resource was depleting and was becoming less reliable in providing fuel supply for First Gen’s own gas-fired power plants, “and even less so in our expansion plans to build new gas-fired power plants to address the growing energy demand of the country.”
Puno said the plan was to modify First Gen’s existing jetty facilities in Batangas to enable LNG to be shipped to the country from anywhere in the world and regasify the LNG molecules via a floating storage and regasification unit.
First Gen remains on track for the completion of its LNG terminal project next year, he said.
“Our own transition to a decarbonized future will be anchored in the next few years by our efforts to bring in liquefied natural gas before the end of Malampaya. Bear in mind though that while we are embarking on this timely shift to LNG, we are, at the same time, also planning for its eventual phaseout in ways that complement a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050 and consistent with a 1.5 degrees Celsius target,” First Gen chairman Federico Lopez said.
First Gen was able to achieve several milestones for the LNG project such as the approval by the Department of Energy of its permit to construct.
First Gen also awarded the turnkey construction contract to McConnell Dowell of Australia and awarded to BW Gas Ltd of Norway the chartering contract for the floating storage and regasifying LNG vessel.
“In 2021, we will prioritize the construction works and finalize the LNG suppliers for the terminal,” Puno said.
First Gen’s natural gas power generation portfolio includes the Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo, Avion and San Gabriel facilities, all located in its energy complex in Batangas.
Its energy platform also includes geothermal, wind, hydro and solar.
First Gen allocated capital expenditure budget of $530 million this year, of which bulk would go to subsidiary Energy Development Corp.’s geothermal drilling and other activities.
“In 2021, we are expecting to spend around $530 million in capital expenditures mainly driven by EDC, the LNG terminal and the Aya pumped storage project,” First Gen senior vice president and chief finance officer Emmanuel Singson said last week.
Singson said EDC, the company’s geothermal arm, was planning to spend $280 million “to catch up on its drilling and investments, as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the postponement of key activities last year.”