MANILA, March 1 (Reuters) - Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc and its Chinese partner have signed a deal adding state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) to their planned $2 billion liquefied natural gas hub project, Phoenix said on Friday.
Phoenix has won government approval to build an LNG regasification and receiving terminal in Batangas province, south of the capital Manila, partnering with CNOOC Gas and Power, a unit of CNOOC and China’s largest LNG importer and terminal operator.
Phoenix, a fuel retailer, said in a statement the three parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, to explore and discuss business opportunities and cooperation in relation to their investment in the Tanglawan LNG project.
“The LNG hub is a crucial project that will provide long-term solutions for our country’s energy needs, and the strategic alliance among our companies will further secure the continuous development of this venture,” Phoenix Chief Operating Officer Henry Albert Fadullon said.
Phoenix did not give details of equity participation in the project.
The LNG facility is expected to have a capacity of 2.2 million tonnes per year, with commercial operations targeted to start by 2023. To support the project, Phoenix also plans to build a 2,000-megawatt power plant.
The Philippines has been looking to start importing LNG to feed gas-fired power plants in Batangas, south of the capital, as domestic gas supplies from its Malampaya field are set to run out in 2024 at the earliest.
Phoenix said the alliance with PNOC involves the latter’s energy facilities and share of Malampaya gas, and future energy projects.
Two other groups are planning to build LNG storage and regasifacation facilities in the Philippines.
One is Philippine power producer First Gen Corp, which currently operates four power plants in Batangas with a combined capacity of about 2,000 MW - all running on Malampaya gas. First Gen’s partner for the LNG project is Tokyo Gas Co Ltd .
The other is Australia-listed Energy World Corp, which has been developing an LNG import terminal project on Pagbilao island in Quezon province since 2011, but completion has been set back by several delays.
Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; editing by Richard Pullin