Turning on the gas for top clients

Published: September 30, 2014

Batangas site-Santa Rita & San Lorenzo CCPP ©First Gen


Key energy players are moving to develop gas infrastructures and secure gas supply in the Philippines calling for expertise in everything from LNG to pipelines. Extending its South East Asia (ASEAN) region with a new office in Manila, Tractebel Engineering is on hand to deliver on 3 new gas projects.


Open to exploring new ASEAN markets from its regional base office in Thailand, Tractebel Engineering’s first contact with major energy players in the Philippines was in 2012 – leading to a better understanding of their needs and strengths; the opening of a new office in Manila; and a hat-trick of interesting projects. Read more


Bringing global experience in the realisation of multiple gas-fired power plants, 20 LNG terminals and over 60, 000 km of gas pipeline, Tractebel Engineering expertise is now making a difference from the start on 3 first projects in the Philippines:

  1. BATANGAS LNG TERMINAL – First Gen Corporation
  2. AVION 100 MW OCGT PP – First Gen Corporation
  3. BATMAN 1 GAS PIPELINE – Rebel Group International for PNOC


Open to exploring new ASEAN markets from its regional base office in Thailand, Tractebel Engineering’s first contact with major energy players in the Philippines was in 2012…

Home to almost 100 million people, economic growth in the Philippines has outpaced its ASEAN neighbours for several years. Even so, with the price of energy the most expensive within South East Asia, the country is later than most in its industrial and power development. Today’s progressive Government solution has been to encourage private sector participants in power generation.

Santa Rita CCPP ©First Gen

One of the big IPP players active in the country is First Gen Corporation (FGEN) – a company known for its responsible approach and clean and renewable energy focus which currently provides 18% of the Philippines power requirements. In gas, FGEN already has two operating plants: 1,000 MW Santa Rita CCPP and 500 MW San Lorenzo CCPP fed by gas from Malampaya offshore gas field. FGEN is also constructing the first 414 MW unit of a planned 1,350 MW San Gabriel CCPP in Batangas City to increase power supply to Manila via the Luzon grid.  With a long-term goal of fueling existing and future gas-fired power plants in the Philippines an potentially supply natural gas to local industrial and commercial customers, FGEN is also considering the development of an LNG import, storage and regasification terminal at the Batangas site.

FGEN signed a framework service agreement with Tractebel Engineering in April 2013. Following a competitive bidding process, Tractebel Engineering then received a service order for the concept study for the Batangas LNG terminal.  Designing the concept from scratch, both a fast-track offshore FSRU option (with a client visit to view Mejillones LNG terminal in Chile) and  a more traditional onshore solution were considered. The onshore option was finally recommended for a long term solution. Read about BATANGAS LNG.

Tractebel Engineering’s demonstrated expertise and reactivity in the first phases of the LNG terminal project earned it an invitation to bid on a second FGEN project – Avion 100 MW OCGT PP – a peaking plant being built directly adjacent to the San Gabriel CCPP and Batangas LNG sites. Read about AVION OCGT PP.

“First Gen is a solid and interesting customer to work with; very open and direct in their decision making approach and feedback on the value of our expertise and new proximity, as well as our ability to open some new doors in the LNG world. The relationship has got off to a good start with these first two projects and there’s mutual potential to extend this to all sectors of joint interest where we could continue to add value in: gas, hydropower, solar, wind and geothermal energy.”
Nicolas Lefèvre – General Manager Tractebel Philippines & Product Manager Gas & LNG ASEAN



1.     BATANGAS LNG TERMINAL – First Gen Corporation (FGEN)

  • Batangas site-existing pipe jetty ©Tractebel Philippines Batangas site-existing pipe jetty ©Tractebel Philippines
  • Batangas site-plot to be developed ©Tractebel Philippines Batangas site-plot to be developed ©Tractebel Philippines


Tractebel Engineering’s concept study (followed directly by the FEED) for a new LNG Terminal in Batangas City confirmed that while an FSRU offshore terminal would be faster to realise, an onshore solution was a better option for FGEN in terms of operating cost and efficiency:

  • With confirmed gas supply from Malampaya, time is less of an issue against the benefits of a lower operation cost and faster return on investment of an onshore solution.
  • Technically, onshore allows integration of terminal and San Gabriel CCPP systems to utilise cold energy; chilling the air flow to the gas turbines to increase efficiency and power output, providing major financial benefit to FGEN.
  • The onshore solution also allows the project to be realised in phases; adjusting through-put as additional PP units and gas export to Manila are realised in coming years.

The project will realise an LNG terminal (4.5 mtpa) on 15.5 hectares between PP sites, the local port authority and importantly, an area of indigenous mangrove forest.  Used to constrained LNG sites (SINES, Portugal) this was a calculated choice with several design consequences:

  • The actual available land is quite large but given a welcome instruction from FGEN to protect the mangroves, especially from fire risk, consequential analysis defined the limits of a lower risk, very compact site.
  • Terminal location was also influenced by the gas dispersion contours, since gas from a leak or spill cannot be allowed to encroach on the GT air intakes.
  • Additional shutdown valves and isolated sections have also been considered in order to reduce inventory in the event of a major leak; so in this case, addressing the Client’s environmental concern has had a beneficial effect on the safety design of the terminal.
  • Sited right next to San Gabriel CCPP there are system integration advantages but also challenges in terms of gas buffering. As the PP will provide critical power directly to the Luzon Island grid, innovative mitigation solutions are being studied to ensure sufficient line pack to assure supply in case of a terminal shutdown.

Rated a relatively high seismic region, Tractebel Engineering has approved and incorporated the findings of 3rd Party preliminary and updated seismo-tectonic studies to determine technical and structural needs:

  • Specifications for both 9% Nl/PC (with seismic isolators) and membrane type tanks have been provided for contractor bids, with the final decision to be made based on costs/schedules.
  • Tsunami risk has also been covered; raising the site to a nominal + 5m CD to improve protection and natural drainage. Elevation will also be maintained from the jetty pipe trestle with a causeway, avoiding a more exposed pipe bridge structure.
  • In terms of planning the critical path is associated with tank construction; works will be pushed to have the tank roof lifted in order to provide storage and ensure that dry works inside the tank can continue during the monsoon season.

“The quality of studies and planning at the beginning of an LNG project impact construction time and the success of its long term operation so the specific constraints for each new LNG terminal are carefully considered. We have no preference for any one technical solution – we only want what is best for the client in the particular circumstances of their project.”
Darren Fleet – Project Manager (Gas & LNG) Tractebel Engineering.



2.     AVION 100 MW OCGT PP – First Gen Corporation

Batangas site - existing access to the mangrove area ©Tractebel Philippines

Batangas site - existing access to the mangrove area ©Tractebel Philippines

Situated on an earmarked site just to the north of the Batangas LNG terminal site and next to San Gabriel CCPP, Avion OCGT PP is a stand-alone plant destined for peaking on which Tractebel Engineering was awarded the Owner’s Representative role for FGEN after an international bid.

Begun in Q3 2014 and scheduled (as a first phase power solution) to outpace the fast-track development of the larger 414 MW first unit of the San Gabriel CCPP, the execution phase of Avion OCGT PP is a short 10 months – making it a challenging greenfield project despite its size. However, for Tractebel Engineering, several factors make the need for speed deadline a feasible goal:

  • A highly modularised design allowing future extension, while requiring strict planning at the start, will facilitate more rapid execution.
  • As a shared site, most of the preparatory civil works, access roads etc., are already in place.

Even if relatively small, the plant’s design and layout are still impacted by its location. With prior knowledge of all regulatory and imposed environmental constraints and the need to integrate the plant with neighbouring facilities, Tractebel Engineering carried out fast, early layout development to optimise the Avion PP location and orientation:

  • Providing for first phase offshore gas feed until the LNG terminal is on line.
  • Although the added distance from the nearby protected mangrove forests reduces fire risk, water management is still a special focus to ensure the plant won’t affect water flow in the mangrove area.
  • Part of a multi-facility site, analysis of the potential impact of one project on another has resulted in some practical layout adjustments such as the relocation of a liquid fuel tank and slightly shifting the plant footprint to accommodate shared control and administration buildings.

Watch this space – the Avion OCGT PP is expected to complete in the first quarter 2015!



3.     BATMAN 1 GAS PIPELINE – Rebel Group International for PNOC

  • Batangas survey (from l. to r.) B. Dutré, A. Travers (FGEN), D. Fleet, P. Debauche, R. Begard ©Tractebel Philippines Batangas survey (from l. to r.) B. Dutré, A. Travers (FGEN), D. Fleet, P. Debauche, R. Begard ©Tractebel Philippines
  • Visit of FGEN at Mejillones LNG Terminal (Chile) ©Tractebel Philippines Visit of FGEN at Mejillones LNG Terminal (Chile) ©Tractebel Philippines

The Philippines Private Public Partnership (PPP) Centre has assigned state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) to drive the implementation of the country’s first gas transmission pipeline. The 105 km (or more depending on routing) Bantagas-Manila (BATMAN 1) gas pipeline is foreseen to deliver offshore gas to economic zones: Bantagas, Laguna and Cavite, but predominantly to Manila. Dutch company Rebel, with Tractebel Engineering as Technical Advisors, are the consultants chosen to carry out feasibility and first phase implementation studies.

The mission, assigned in March 2014, is to deliver a report on the outcome of the studies in 2015 allowing the future pipeline construction to be offered under a PPP (or private) development arrangement. Tractebel Engineering is assisting Rebel on the review and analysis of key aspects which will impact the final development in terms of routing, design and cost:

  • Preliminary routing and early technical design based on route constraints/hazards and existing and future land use; habitations, roads, railways, bridges and underground placement, which will affect construction techniques.
  • Right-of-way (ROW) issues and acquisition as the project will traverse multiple different local municipalities and communities, which may impact the technical design.
  • The locations and needs of anchor load customers; PP and industrial end-users in economic zones along the route.
  • Cost viability based on findings.

Welcome Value

“Let me just officially thank you for your hard work that enabled timely completion of the draft FEED package. I really appreciate your commitment to sticking to the original schedule.”
Hein J. Oomen, Former Project Development Manager, First Gen Corporation

New Office

Tractebel Engineering registered its new Tractebel Philippines office in Manila in April 2014 to the satisfaction of key clients. Offering greater customer and market proximity, the office also allows hiring of local resources from a strong engineering talent pool and provides a base for expatriate experts working on projects.

ASEAN Presence

Other markets currently benefitting from Tractebel Engineering expertise in the ASEAN region include: THAILAND, VIETNAM, LAOS and INDONESIA with more in the pipeline.

More information

Nicolas Lefèvre – General Manager TRACTEBEL Philippines & Product Manager Gas & LNG ASEAN
Darren Fleet – Project Manager (Gas & LNG) Tractebel Engineering

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