July 16, 2024

The Department of Energy has vowed to create an “enabling environment” for investments and innovation in liquefied natural gas (LNG), recognizing its use as a substitute fuel while the country accelerates its green transition and builds its natural gas capacity.

The government has set an ambitious national renewable energy (RE) power generation mix target of 50 percent by 2040 under its National Renewable Energy Program.

In the process, it looks at LNG to serve as the cleaner transitional bridge from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“Exploration and development of these resources including the building of necessary infrastructure will certainly take time, making it essential to have a reliable energy transition source in the meantime,” Energy Sec. Raphael Lotilla said in a pre-recorded speech at a Stratbase forum.

“This is where LNG plays a crucial role, serving as a cleaner substitute for traditional fossil fuels and a more reliable source than renewable energy,” he added.

At present, there are two LNG facilities in the country, both located in Batangas that can support around 8,000 megawatt capacity of natural gas plants.

Lotilla confirmed that the DOE has also issued four permits to construct and three notices to proceed to LNG proponents as of May this year.

The DOE is also formulating a Natural Gas Development Plan to provide investors guidance and policy, the legal requirements, and incentives in putting up LNG facilities and other infrastructure requirements.

“This journey towards energy security and sustainability, however, must be a collaborative effort,” he said.

“We call on the support of our stakeholders and partners in the private sector to assist us in creating a resilient, self-reliant, and sustainable energy future for the Philippines,” he said.

Development Academy of the Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Majah-Leah Ravago agreed that LNG could be used in the long term to balance the shortfalls of RE sources.

She said LNG could help “fill” the gaps as the country address the slowly depleting Malampaya gas field, where most of Luzon sources its power needs.

“LNG has a role to play sa kakulangan ng ating electricity supply dahil nagkaroon tayo ng depletion ng Malampaya gas so that could fill the gap,” she said.

Stratbase Institute President Dindo Manhit, for his part, urged the government and private sector to further maximize the opportunity to work in closer collaboration and jumpstart this LNG industry.

“Aside from the energy stability and environmental benefits, developing LNG as a stable source of power will foster more infrastructure development, technology transfer, job creation, and trade, all of which will substantially contribute to the country’s overall economic growth and prosperity,” Manhit said. – PNA