SEMBCORP is keen to lead an LNG buyers' group, including of its customers, for the next tranche of liquefied natural gas supplies here, said its executive vice president, Ng Meng Poh, and it is looking at potentially sourcing the LNG from as far as Canada and the US.
"We are well positioned to again lead the LNG buyers' group, just as we did for GSA 1," said Mr Ng at a regional power conference yesterday.
He was referring to Singapore's first piped natural gas (PNG) sales agreement with Indonesia, which saw Sembcorp importing PNG to help fuel power plants and industries here.
Sembcorp, which subsequently clinched a second GSA with Indonesia for the gas from Natuna, has a broad portfolio including PNG, spot cargoes and LNG contracts, which offers flexibility and benefits for end-users, he added.
For example, instead of take-or-pay clauses, where the customer is obliged to take delivery of the gas or else pay a specified amount, a buyers' group will provide aggregation benefits where the unwanted gas can be diverted to another customer who needs it.
Mr Ng, who is head of Singapore and Asean (Utilities), later told BT that Sembcorp had started sussing out customers about an LNG buyers' group, and has also had some preliminary discussions with potential LNG suppliers. But he stressed that "it is still early days".
Regulator Energy Market Authority (EMA) has just started a consultation exercise on future LNG procurement here beyond current aggregator BG Group's three million tonnes per annum franchise that the latter is expected to hit by next year at the latest.
EMA is proposing two models of firstly, a government-appointed regulated sole importer or BG plus 1; and a second of BG plus 3 others, following completion of a feasibility study that it had commissioned McKinsey & Co to carry out. Mr Ng reckons BG + 1 would provide greater supply security and be easier to manage.
Temasek Holdings subsidiary, Gas Supply Pte Ltd (GSPL) - which currently imports PNG from Sumatra - earlier said it was also interested in leading a LNG buyers' group.
Like GSPL, which indicated that it was prepared to work with competitors if necessary, Sembcorp's Mr Ng said that "at the end of the day, we will need critical mass for LNG imports, so we won't rule out working with GSPL".
In his presentation, Mr Ng gave an update on an Indonesian supply swap deal put forward by the country's gas regulator, BPMigas, to the two Singapore PNG importers, when he said that "this was in the finalisation stage".
The deal is complicated due to the large number of parties involved, including foreign producers at the gasfields as well as end-users for the gas.
It will see some of GSPL's current gas supplies from Sumatra being re-routed to state-owned power utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara's Muara Tawar plants in western Java which needs the fuel.
GSPL will then get make-up volumes from the Natuna gas which Sembcorp imports.
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