By Myrna M. Velasco
Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation is firming up negotiations with at least two more investors that will complete its “coalition of the willing” for the consortium that shall bring its US$1.0 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal to fruition.
First Gen President Francis Giles B. Puno noted that they are eyeing the new partners signing up in the next few months, so the project could reach final investment decision (FID) by yearend or early part of 2020.
“The way we work is we anticipate that we are bringing in more partners.
But between ourselves and Tokyo Gas, we would want to proceed already,” he said.
Puno was referring to the initial partnership that the Lopez firm had initially sealed with Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. in December last year, in which the latter had cornered 20-percent participating interest in the project.
“The formal FID will entail a bigger, hopefully a complete group of owners, but within ourselves and Tokyo Gas today, we want to do groundbreaking already. We want to continue with the momentum and the groundbreaking is part and parcel of the terminal,” he stressed.
Puno emphasized the company will not need to keep the 80-percent shareholdings it currently has in FGEN LNG Corp. or the project’s corporate vehicle – instead it could pare its equity to the level of 50-51-percent.
The company will also be deciding on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the LNG terminal project. In its shortlist are US firm Fluor and Japanese firm JGC Corporation.
Jon Russell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of First Gen noted that they are in talks with various parties and nationalities on additional prospective tie-ups in the LNG import facility venture.
“We are in discussion with a number of entities, so in the near future it is possible that we will announce additional partners that will be coming on board…we have been talking to a lot of companies from all different nationalities,” he said.
Meanwhile, the company announced that it will be allocating US$220 million to US$250 million capital expenditures (capex) this year – the bulk of which at US$150 million will be for pipelined projects of subsidiary Energy Development Corporation (EDC), according to First Gen Chief Finance Officer Emmanuel Singson said.