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MANILA, June 8 (Reuters) - The Philippines aims to build a $2-billion receiving and distribution facility for imported LNG, as it seeks to replace depleting domestic gas reserves that now produce a fifth of its power, the energy department said.
Construction could be completed by 2020, or four years before the Malampaya natural gas field is depleted, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a presentation to an industry forum this week.
The Philippines' energy demand will triple by 2040, with electricity requirements anticipated to grow four times from 2015, Cusi said during the forum.
The Philippines needs to step up power generation capacity by 7,000 megawatts over the next five years to support a fast-growing economy and wants foreign investors to help.
Chinese and Japanese companies are among the foreign investors who want to help build energy infrastructure, including liquefied natural gas facilities, Cusi told Reuters in February.
The LNG project, which includes a 200-megawatt power plant, is among the investment opportunities up for grabs in the country's long-term energy plan, which seeks to add power capacity of 43,765 MW by 2040, Cusi said.
"Hopefully, with Dutertenomics attracting the adequate level of private investments, we can reach our targeted additional power capacity by 2040," he said.
Cusi was referring to the economic agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte, which envisages massive spending to build new infrastructure and modernise existing facilities.
Several firms have expressed interest in building LNG facilities in the Philippines, including Manila Electric Company , formerly in talks with Osaka Gas Co Ltd for a joint venture. Energy authorities said the talks halted because both decided to separately reassess the power supply situation.
In April Philippine power producer First Gen Corp said it was willing to work with the government to build a $1-billion LNG terminal to sustain its gas-fired power plants currently running on Malampaya gas.
The operator of Malampaya, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc , has also been looking to set up a floating regasification facility to sell LNG in the Philippines.
Australia-listed Energy World Corp Ltd has been building an LNG hub in eastern Quezon province that includes a floating storage regasification unit and power plants. (Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)