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PNOC eyes JV for small-scale LNG terminal in Bataan

STATE-RUN Philippine National Oil Corp. (PNOC) is exploring a potential partnership with Samat LNG Corp. to construct a small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal in Bataan province, expected to be finished within the next two years.

“We have a potential joint venture (JV)with an investor for a small-scale receiving terminal for LNG,” PNOC President Oliver B. Butalid said in an interview last week.

“We’re on the stage where we will invest, very minority shareholder or not — that will come about in the next two months. Whether we’d come in as a shareholder or not, the project is pushing through already,” he also said.

In September last year, PNOC and Samat LNG, which develops LNG import terminals, inked a long-term lease agreement for a 4.5-hectare area within the PNOC Industrial Park in Limay, Bataan.

The Department of Energy (DoE) has said that the LNG terminal will have the capacity to import 200,000 to 400,000 tons of LNG annually, catering to small-scale independent power producers, manufacturing firms, and transport fleets.

The facility plans to transport 20,000-cubic meter tankers that can be stored and transported to industrial facilities in Luzon, according to Mr. Butalid.

The DoE issued a notice to proceed (NTP) in January last year, requiring Samat LNG to obtain necessary permits from government agencies and secure financial closing for the facility’s construction.

Under DoE regulations, Samat LNG has 12 months from the NTP issuance to comply with requirements and proceed with construction. Construction is expected to start in March, according to Mr. Butalid.

He also said that the construction is targeted to start after the DoE issues the permit in March.

Asked about the estimated project cost, he said”: As far as I know, it’s $120 million.”

“It’s quite exciting because before this project, of course the notion of importing LNG is that it is only going to be accessible to large power plants who have the receiving capacity,” Mr. Butalid added.

“This one, it’s sort of a good development because it brings to everybody’s consciousness that it’s possible to use LNG on a firm on-site basis which was not possible before.”

Last year, two LNG terminals were completed by FGEN LNG Corp., a subsidiary of First Gen Corp., and Linseed Field Corp., both located in Batangas. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera

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