Vires Energy has received the green light from the Philippines government to progress its planned liquefied natural gas import project in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Department of Energy has approved Vires’ Notice to Proceed application for the proposed integrated LNG project in Batangas province.

Receiving the NTP is a key step that allows companies to acquire the necessary permits, which should help to ensure the project leaves the drawing board. Vires will also need submit proof of financing together with the relevant permits to the regulator within six months.

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DOE secretary Alfonso Cusi said: “The proposed integrated natural gas-fired power plant and LNG storage and regasification terminal project of Vires Energy Corporation will boost the attainment of our vision to develop the Philippines as an LNG hub in the South East Asian region.”

The company’s’ LNG-to-power project envisages a floating storage and regasification unit to be deployed 1.6 kilometres offshore in Batangas Bay.

Turret-moored FSRU

Local media reported Vires as having its eye on BW Gas’ FSRU BW Paris however this unit was recently snapped up by compatriot First Gen for its own grassroots LNG import scheme – also at Batangas.

The DOE reportedly said that Vires would use a turret-moored FSRU with capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum plus a 500-megawatt floating power plant – the largest in the Philippines - as the anchor customer.

Vires’ integrated LNG terminal project is targeting operational start-up by January 2023.

Vires is controlled by Cagayan de Oro-based listed company A Brown Company, which last year acquired the majority outstanding capital of Vires from Singapore’s Argo Group.

“The acquisition of Vires Energy reflects our confidence in the role of natural gas in providing for a clean and cost-effective energy source. We are excited to push the project forward,” A Brown chairman Walter Brown was quoted by the Manila Standard.