By Myrna M. Velasco

Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation has been recognized in the recently concluded “CWC Asia Pacific LNG Innovation Award” – bagging the runner-up spot for its planned 3.0 to 5.0 million tons per annum (mtpa) liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal project to be sited at its Clean Energy Complex in Batangas.

First Gen logo - First Gen cited as emerging LNG player at Asia Pacific awards

On the accolade bestowed on its LNG project, First Gen executive vice president and chief commercial officer Jon Russell asserted “we were honored that we were even nominated – it’s a vindication of all the hard work that we’ve done. And the fact that these experts recognize the Philippines is now taking us into the right steps to make the project happen.”

The top prize in the LNG awards went to the 12.88 mtpa Mozambuque LNG project of American firm Anadarko, which is at its full implementation stage.

Russell professed that the Mozambique project really deserved to win because it’s a venture that already moved headway into final investment decision (FID) and construction – and had the blueprinted first phase of the facility already completed.

Nevertheless, Russell is wishing for a big comeback for the Philippines next year, once the First Gen LNG terminal project clinches FID phase. “We shall be back, and maybe next year, we can win,” the First Gen executive stressed.

On the Philippines now being widely in the radar of global gas investors, Russell opined that the country is perceived a pivotal emerging player because it is now advancing its way into putting up the country’s first LNG import terminal — and such development is also considered trailblazing because it will mark the rebirth of the gas industry post-Malampaya.

“It’s difficult but I think we’ve got great opportunity. We’re working very hard to make it work,” Russell indicated; adding that “I think 2019 is an important year because we need to keep the lights on, so we need to make an investment decision later this year or early next year to make this whole project work.”

Global players in the LNG industry had singled out the Philippines as an “important market” that investors have been keeping a close watch on for next round of project developments.

At the recent CWC LNG Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore, Dr Pat Roberts, managing director of LNG Worldwide, reckoned that in the Southeast Asian region, Philippines and Vietnam are the markets heeding the LNG investment trajectory that Indonesia had set as a cycle for the gas sector in this part of the continent.

By year 2025-2030, it is seen that the global LNG sector will grow into a 450 to 500 mtpa market; with supply growth coming from Qater, Russia, Africa and the United States.

And that boost in supply, she added will all be “because of confidence in Asian LNG growth,” being that part of the world that will be setting trends on demand expansion.

For the First Gen project in particular, its LNG import terminal venture is targeted for up to 7.0 mtpa over the longer term. The initial investment for the 5.0mtpa phase has been crunched at US1.0 billion.

Parallel to the installation of LNG import terminal that is set reaching commercial operation in 2023, First Gen is likewise pushing forward the developments of two new gas-fired power plants with aggregate capacity of 1,200 megawatts.

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