Taiwan will vote in a referendum on December 18 on whether to move the nation’s third liquefied natural gas terminal, currently under construction at Taoyuan, to another location or to accept a government plan to extend the LNG carrier jetty slightly further out to sea away from a sensitive reef area.
Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua said a balanced approach was required for energy and LNG imports to advance the economy.
Wang urged voters to reject the relocation, and said that the present plans for the terminal, one-third of which has already been built, would not affect an algae reef near the coast.
Wang made her defence of the project in a televised forum on November 13 when the cases for and against were put forward.
Taiwan is still Asia’s fifth-largest LNG importer after North Asia’s top three of Japan, China and South Korea and with India in fourth place.
The Taiwanese are constructing the third LNG terminal to meet increasing demand after imports rose 6 percent last year to 17.75 million tonnes.
Taiwan in July 2021 signed a new LNG supply agreement with QatarEnergy for 1.25 million tonnes per annum of cargoes as the Taiwanese prepare to use more of the fuel. It is additionally increasing LNG shipments from the US.
Under the Taiwan expansion plans, the national energy company, CPC Corp., is developing the Taoyuan terminal in the district of Datan Borough for local needs and a gas-fired power plant there.
The first phase of the Taoyuan terminal construction should be completed by 2023. A second expansion phase is also proposed.
The first expansion of Taiwan’s existing Tai-Chung LNG terminal was also completed at the end of 2019.
Further work is planned, including the addition of another berth and associated tanks, to be carried out in two phases.
The 1.8 MTPA expansion project at Taiwan’s second existing terminal, the Yung-An facility, including three new storage tanks and related regasification facilities, is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.
Minister Wang said that the LNG project was an important part of the country's power supply infrastructure, which can achieve the goals of protecting the algae reef in the area, ensuring stable power supply and cutting air pollution.
“The government’s revised project is to push the LNG terminal 450 metres away to 1.2 kilometres from the coast may not be perfect, but it is the best solution for protecting the environment,” stated Wang.