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DOE cites need to expand LNG facilities

The Malampaya gas reserves will be depleted within the next 10 years, highlighting a pressing need to expand the country's liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility so as to accommodate and imported shipments of the commodity, the Department of Energy (DOE) said on Thursday.

"By 2024, the Malampaya gas field is expected to be depleted until 2027. There is a need to expand its facilities for LNG expansion and importation, and for further exploration," Energy Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella said in a press conference.

The Malampaya gas-to-power facility fuels three gas-fired power plants with a total generating capacity of 2,700 megawatts (MW) to provide 30 percent of the power generation requirements of Luzon.

Connected to an onshore gas plant in Batangas, the Malampaya offshore facility in Northern Palawan was inaugurated in 2001. Estimates showed its gas reserves will be sufficient only until 2022 to 2024.

Fuentebella said the Philippine LNG infrastructure plan was among the topics discussed by the Philippines and Singapore in a bilateral meeting under the auspices of the ASEAN Energy Ministers Meeting on Thursday.

"The Singapore government and Philippine government are looking into more ways to complement each other's programs as far as LNG is concerned," he said.

In June, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the DOE is eyeing to make the Philippines the LNG hub of Southeast Asia.

Estimated to cost P100 billion, a planned LNG plant consists of a gas storage facility with a rated capacity of 5 million tons per year, and a power plant with an initial capacity of 200 MW which could later be expanded to 1,000 MW.

Cusi earlier said China, Japan, and Russia are interested in joining  the LNG terminal project. — VDS, GMA News