COMPANIES will soon be invited to submit proposals to supply Singapore's next tranche of liquified natural gas (LNG), as the country looks to develop as a hub for the energy source.
The so-called "Request-for-Proposals" (RFP) process will be launched in the second quarter of the year by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), said Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade & Industry, on Tuesday.
"The RFP will allow us to appoint LNG importers who can provide competitively-priced and secure LNG supplies," he said at a conference.
Interested companies will have to go through two stages of shortlisting and negotiations, before EMA appoints up to two importers.
Each appointed importer will have an exclusive franchise of three years, or until it has contracted to supply up to 1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of LNG, whichever comes sooner.
Singapore's industry framework involves awarding LNG import licences on a tranche-by-tranche basis to meet growing demand.
"This will allow us to respond flexibly to changing domestic needs, opportunities arising from global market trends, and the emergence of new suppliers," said Mr Iswaran.
LNG is one of the fastest growing sectors of the growing energy market. It is seen as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly energy source than oil - especially pertinent in an era of increasing environmental awareness and regulation.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be officially opening Singapore's LNG terminal on Tuesday evening. The facility on Jurong Island has a capacity of 6 Mtpa.
"We will invest in a fourth tank and additional regasification equipment to increase the terminal's throughput capacity to at least 9 Mtpa by 2017," said Mr Iswaran.