ENERGY Secretary Alfonso Cusi said last week that Dubai-based Lloyds Energy is partnering with Mitsubishi Corp. Energy of Japan to put up a 1,200-megawatt (MW) liquefied natural gas (LNG) merchant power plant.

“It is not an LNG terminal. It is a power plant, a merchant power plant whose feedstock is LNG. That’s the business model of Lloyds, ” Cusi said. “Lloyds Energy, together with Japan Mitsubishi, will put up a 1,200-MW LNG power plant.”

Details of the proposed LNG merchant plant have yet to be firmed up. Cusi said his office awaits Lloyds’s master plan. They’re working on their papers. They’re going to submit it to us,” Cusi said.

If and when submitted, Cusi said the Department of Energy (DOE) would assess the proposal before any permit is issued. “We have to await for Lloyds Energy to submit their master plan and their timeline and schedule of work so we can issue the permit, if it will meet the terms, the conditions required.”

If it pushes through, the LNG merchant power plant can be put up in 18 to 24 months, Cusi said. Unlike conventional independent power projects, merchant plants do not have upfront, long-term power purchase agreements to cover their output. Lloyds’s LNG plans, Cusi added, include partnership with state firm Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC).

“They are talking. PNOC is part of the discussion. What PNOC would like to have is to get a board seat so we have proper representation and how things are running,” Cusi said.

Lloyds Energy earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with PNOC to explore ways to develop LNG facilities and natural gas power plants in Bataan and Batangas provinces.

“The country needs an LNG power plant and an oil depot. These steps will encourage also the private sector to consider these directions, just like what we did with the LNG hub,” PNOC President Reuben Lista said.

Cusi said Lloyds’s interest and that of Mitsubishi to invest in the country was reached during President Duterte’s working visit to Japan. “That is the product of our negotiation when we went to Japan during the trip of the President. The government is doing that…encouraging or inviting investment to address the energy requirement of the country in the immediate future.”

In the past, Cusi said the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, expressed its interest in building an LNG power plant in the Philippines. The DOE had also invited Japanese investors to put up merchant power plants in the Philippines through the Ministry of Economy, Trade and industry.

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