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DOE's Cusi eyes PHL as Southeast  Asia's LNG hub

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Wednesday said the Department of Energy (DOE) is eyeing to make the Philippines as Southeast Asia's hub for liquefied natural gas in line with its plan to construct an integrated LNG import terminal in Batangas.

"To ensure the continuity of power supply from natural gas-fired power plants to anticipate the eventual depletion of the Malampaya gas field by 2024, the DOE has tasked the Philippine National Oil Corp. to build an integrated LNG receiving and distributing facility with a reserve initial power plant capacity of 200 megawatts," Cusi said in his remarks during a forum in Makati City.

At the sidelines of the forum, the Energy chief told reporters that with the development of an LNG terminal the DOE has seen that "the Philippines can be the LNG hub in the region."

"The Philippine has already failed in being the aviation hub despite our geographical advantage, also in maritime... So probably this is an opportunity. This is a dream but...we want to give it a shot," Cusi said.

He took note that the Philippines' location has the advantage to be an LNG hub in the region.

"We are just looking at the project now. The size would depend on the studies we are conducting," he said.

Based on DOE's data, the integrated LNG terminal project has an estimated project cost of P100 billion and targeted to be completed on 2020.

The Cabinet official also explained that building an LNG terminal is imperative to avoid shooting up consumer electricity rates due to the scheduled maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility.

"Around 3,200MW of power is dependent on the natural gas and the LNG (terminal) should have been done a long time ago because when the Malampaya undergoes maintenance shutdown it's costing on the consumers a lot as we have power plants dependent on natural gas, which would have to switch to more expensive fuel adjustment," he said.

"We could have avoided that if we have our LNG terminal," he added. —ALG, GMA News