According to an energy expert from Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Philippines will benefit through the introduction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to support power generation and making it part of its energy mix. LNG has been proven to be a good fuel for ships, especially for those in the light of ever-tightening emission regulations.
Dr. Yongping Zhai, ADB chief of energy sector group, explained that currently natural gas and LNG is much cheaper today compared to two to three years ago. This will continue on for the foreseeable future. He added that there is a chance for the Philippines and other Asian countries to benefit from LNG.
LNG, a gas that is cleaner compared to coal, could be a part of the Philippines’ energy mix depending on its viability, Zhai said. He also stated that the Philippines is already operating a facility running on natural gas.
The Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) has signed a contract with ADB for the latter to act as transaction advisor for the country’s first LNG hub project in Batangas. Zhai explained that the ADB is providing advice to the government regarding the viability and utility of LNG.
Regarding the assessment process, Zhai commented, “We are in the stage of assessing the (LNG project) offers from companies and we gather information from the country, what is the demand. We also assess the international market, what will be the price of LNG whether you buy long-term contract, short-term contract, (and buying in) spot market so what will be cost implication.”
As for the possibility of the Philippines being an LNG hub, “You already have gas utilization because gas consumption is important here. To become a hub, you need to have internal consumption to anchor demand. And you have a geographic location that can reach from here to other places.”
Should LNG become the norm for fuel in ships, this can have a huge effect on seafarer training in the Philippines with regards to courses about different ship classifications and their recommended fuel.