Power company Energy World Corp., has committed to invest about $1 billion U.S dollars for the development of liquefied natural gas from the Sulu Sea.
Energy World Corp. executive director Graham Elliott said in a statement, the company needs to invest about a third of the fund for the construction phase of the project.
Elliott said his company is waiting for the Department of Energy (DOE) to grant it the permission of utilizing “the already discovered natural gas in the Philippines, in the Sulu Sea.”
“Once we have that permission, then we can move forward with the final planning of the project and the implementation,” he said.
He said the initial assessment revealed that the project would generate between 3,000 megawatts and 5,000 megawatts of power a year in the next 20 years.
Elliott said to accumulate the fund needed to implement the project, there are companies that are willing to invest and that it might tap into the window of the government-run Development Bank of the Philippines.
“It will be bringing employment (to the area), it will be bringing investment into the regional area that really needs this,” he said.
At any given time during the life of the project, Elliott estimated about $400 million will be infused into the economy of the province and the entire Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
He said, on employment, the company will hire about 3,000 workers at the peak of the construction phase of the project.
Although most of the human resources will be from the host communities, Elliott said the company is confident that it can recruit skilled workers, including those Filipinos who have experience in building similar projects in other countries.
The company will also build resort-like accommodation facilities that will house employees and that these structures will eventually become part of the tourist industry in the area, said Elliott.
One huge advantage of pushing for the project, he added, is that although it is not renewable energy, it is a way cleaner than those whose fuels are fossil like coal and petroleum products.
The energy that it will produce will also be cheaper by about P0.50 per kilowatt-hour compared with those output of fossil-fueled power plants.
The good thing, he said, because the local community understands the impact of the project, “we have a strong support from the mayor,” the second generation executive said.
At present, he said, the company is waiting for the approval of the national government, particularly the DOE, so that it can finalize the project design and start the implementation.
Elliott said that the project “will take about three years of construction work (to get completed and would) start six months after everything is approved,” he added.
The company has also built an importation hub for LNG in Pagbilao, Quezon which has been about 80% complete.
The Pagbilao project, however, has yet to operate because the National Grid Corp. of the Philippine has yet to complete the substation that will connect it to the national grid.
He said he hoped that the substation would be completed soon so that the project can start operating next year.