Friday, June 29, 2018

Basic Energy says it won’t give up geothermal service contracts

June 29, 2018 | 12:03 am

BASIC ENERGY Corp. has not given up on its service contracts to explore five areas in the Philippines for their potential capacity for geothermal energy.
“We don’t have any intentions of letting go of it [geothermal service contract] because we believe that that’s still the future,” Basic Energy President and Chief Executive Oscar L. de Venecia, Jr. told reporters after the company’s annual stockholders meeting on Wednesday.
“We will need a lot of baseload requirements and geothermal is one of those sources for baseload. We feel that there is a lot of room for geothermal and we believe [in] the projects that we have,” he said.
Although geothermal exploration is a more expensive project than other energy resources, Mr. De Venecia said it remains viable in the long run.
The company has allocated around P60 million to P70 million as capital expenditure for its Philippine projects.
“When it comes to geothermal, when you say exploration it is resource confirmation. You’re trying to find the source of the steam, you’re looking for the temperatures, you’re looking for the size of the field, how much steam you can make,” Mr. De Venecia said.
Basic Energy has five service contracts awarded by the Department of Energy for the exploration and development of geothermal energy in Mabini, Batangas; Mariveles, Bataan; east Mankayan, Benguet; Iriga, Camarines Sur; and west Bulusan, Sorsogon. The five projects are in different stages of development.
“In Mabini, we’ve done the first well. We’re doing a confirmatory well hopefully by the end of the year if not in the first quarter of next year,” Mr. De Venecia said. “That’s the longest contract we’ve had. That was the first one awarded to us way back 2007.”
In Iriga, Basic Energy continues with geophysical surveys, he said. The project is now led by Desco, Inc. after Basic Energy in December 2016 secured the Energy department’s approval on the farm-in agreement and deed of assignment with the service provider.
Under the deal, Desco will shoulder the expenditure for the geophysical survey and all other activities required to bring the Iriga geothermal service contract to drilling.
“It’s a little more behind,” he said, adding Basic Energy is still gathering data to determine the best area to drill its first exploratory hole.
“West Bulusan is still a little far because we’re still trying to work with the community in getting things started there,” Mr. De Venecia said. — Victor V. Saulon

AC Energy eyes investments in RE projects in Vietnam

By Lenie Lectura -

AC Energy is eyeing more investment opportunities in Vietnam, particularly wind-power projects.
AC Energy will be partnering with B&T of Vietnam to pursue wind-power projects with a capacity of 352 megawatts (MW) in Quang Binh province with a total investment of $493 million (P26.336 billion). Initially, both are eyeing to develop 252 MW of wind power, with a total investment of $353 million (P18.857 billion).
Early this month, Ayala Group met with the delegation of Quang Binh province. During their meeting on June 9, the two sides expressed the desire to cooperate in investing in the field of renewable energy.
The Ayala Group was led by its president and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and AC Energy President Eric Francia.
Meanwhile, the delegation of Quang Binh province was led by Hoang Dang Quang, member of the Central Party Committee, secretary of the Provincial Party Committee and chairman of the Provincial People’s Council. He was joined by Nguyen Xuan Quang, standing vice chairman of Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee.
“After discussion, in the witness of the leaders of both sides, Nguyen Xuan Quang, Standing Vice Chairman of Quang Binh Provincial People’s Committee together with representative of the Ayala Group signed a memorandum of understanding on investment of B&T wind farm with a capacity of 352 MW in Quang Binh province with a total investment of $493 million. The first phase has a capacity of 252 MW, with a total investment of $353 million,” details posted on the web site of Quang Binh Department of Trade and Industry stated. Quang Binh officials said the province has a lot of potential for socioeconomic development, especially tourism. In addition with the diversified natural resources, the province also has great potential to develop wind energy and solar energy.
“Therefore, the Ayala group’s investment in wind farm in Quang Binh province will help Quang Binh province “open up its potential for future development,” the statement read. “The Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee also affirmed that Quang Binh will give the best conditions for the Ayala Group to survey and deploy investment projects in the coming time.”
Earlier, AC Energy partnered with the Bim Group of Vietnam to jointly develop 330 MW of solar-power projects in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
AC Energy and BIM are starting with an initial phase of 30 MW, which broke ground on January 23, with Conergy Asia & ME as the construction partner. Investment for this phase is expected to reach 800 billion dong, or roughly P1.8 billion, and to be completed within the year.
Francia said the agreement with BIM initially covers 330 MW, though “their landholdings there could support more than 1,000 MW.”
He said last year the company was eyeing Vietnam because “the population, the growth potential, the market size, supply-demand outlook is similar to what we have here in the Philippines.”
The move to develop renewable-energy projects overseas is in line with AC Energy’s plan to grow its presence in Southeast Asian markets. It has also partnered with UPC Renewables Indonesia Ltd. for a 75-MW wind farm under project company PT UPC Sidrap Bayu Energy.

Meralco sees 6.5% hike in energy sales in H1

By Lenie Lectura -

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) expects a 6.5-percent growth in energy sales in the first half of the year, higher than the 4.5 percent it posted in the same period a year ago.
“We will probably end-June with roughly around 6.5 percent. Demand was strong in May, but it went down in June. This year is higher because to the country’s credit, industrial and commercial activities have been strong. Maybe it’s the growth of the economy,” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said.
From January to May this year, Reyes said energy sales grew by 7.5 percent.
However, electricity sales in June “is trending a little softer because rains have started and it’s been cool during the last three months.”
Reyes said June sales are trending below 3 percent.
Meralco earlier reported that energy sales for the first quarter of the year stood at 10,145 gigawatt-hours, up 8.9 percent from 9,317 GWh in the same period a year ago. The higher temperature, which averaged 27.1 degrees Celsius, also drove the increase in volume during the period.
It said unusually strong sales from January to March this year pushed Meralco’s net income higher by 10 percent to P5.3 billion, while core net income rose 7 percent to P4.92 billion.  Revenues also went up by 6 percent to P70.09 billion.
Reyes said sales volume for the second quarter, albeit lower than the first quarter, would still be driven by increased consumption from existing customers and new customers. At end-March, Meralco’s customer count increased to 6.4 million accounts. He said the subscriber base is growing at a rate of 4 percent to 4.5 percent every year.
Meralco reiterated it remains committed, and has always been ready to invest in capital expenditures for a highly resilient, customer-responsive, digitally enabled distribution business, and fuel-efficient, reliable and environment-friendly power generation plants.