Saturday, August 30, 2014

Villar unit seeks BOI tax perks for diesel plant projects

Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:45 am | Saturday, August 30th, 2014

S.I. Power Corp., a unit of Villar-led Prime Asset Ventures Inc., has sought tax perks from the Board of Investments for its proposed diesel plants in Siquijor.
Based on a notice, S.I. Power is applying for registration on a pioneer status as a new operator of diesel plants, which can generate a total of 6.464 megawatts.
One facility, which has a capacity of 3.232 MW, will be put up in the municipality of Siquijor, while a second plant of another 3.232 MW will be placed in Lazi.
It was earlier reported the Siquijor diesel stations, which would be the Villar group’s first foray in the power generation business, are expected to replace the power plants managed and operated by the state-run National Power Corp. in the province.
The reported target was to complete the facilities within 11 months after the equipment has been delivered to the proposed site of the diesel stations.
Should the project be approved by the BOI, S.I. Power Corp. will be entitled to a menu of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, as provided under the 2013 Investment Priorities Plan.
These include an income tax holiday and exemption from taxes and duties on imported spare parts; exemption from wharfage dues and export taxes. Amy R. Remo   source

San Miguel still keen on Angat contract

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 30, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. remains interested in operating and maintaining the 218-megawatt Angat hydropower plant in Bulacan despite thorny issues that continue to delay the turnover of the facility to its foreign partner, K-Water Resources Corp. of Korea, its top official said.

“Yes, (we are still keen on Angat),” San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in a text message when sought for comment on the company’s continuing interest in the facility.

The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM), the government corporation tasked to privatize state-owned power assets, said there are still issues being addressed before the deals final closing.

“There are pending issues preventing closing,” PSALM president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Ledesma, Jr. said yesterday.

He declined to elaborate on the issues but said PSALM is targeting to close the sale by Sept. 1.

He also explained that the lower purchase price of the facility is due to the capacity testing of the plant’s main Units 2 and 4 as provided under the sale agreement.

K-Water’s bid lowered to $439 million from the original $440.88 million in 2010, data from PSALM showed.

PSALM sold the plant to K-Water which is working on securing a $500-million bridge loan from the Korean Exim Bank for the takeover.

PSALM issued the certificate of effectivity (COE) to K-Water in September last year and had targeted to close the sale within 270 days from the issuance of the COE. It conducted a bidding for the facility in 2010.

K-Water topped the bidding but was unable to take over the plant due to thorny issues including court hurdles raised by non-government organizations (NGO) on the foreign takeover of a power asset.

The Supreme Court last year upheld the privatization of the power plant but K-Water had negotiated with the government for a lower price tab on the facility, saying it wanted the same level of benefits expected in its 2010 bid.

The privatization of Angat, once completed, would be the first successful power asset sale under the Aquino administration, as mandated under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

K-Water is optimistic that its investment in Angat is only the beginning of future projects in hydropower. source

SEC okays P10-B Aboitiz Power bonds

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 30, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Aboitiz Power Corp., the power generation company of the Aboitiz Group, has received the go-signal from the Securites and Exchange Commission to sell fixed-rate retail bonds worth up to P10 billion.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, AboitizPower said it will issue P10 billion in bonds in principal amount of P5 billion and an oversubscription of another P5 billion.

Proceeds would be used to partially finance the company’s new power generation projects, to replenish working capital, and for other general corporate purposes, it said.

The company will issue seven-year bonds with a fixed rate interest of 5.205 percent per annum and 12-year bonds with a fixed interest rate of 6.10 percent per annum.

“The public offer will commence today and will end at close of business day on Sept. 3, 2014,” AboitizPower said.

The bonds earlier received the highest rating from local debt watcher

Philippine Rating Services Corp. (PhilRatings), which assigned an PRS AAA issue credit rating on the issue.

According to PhilRatings, obligations rated PRS Aaa are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk, with the issuer having an “extremely strong” capacity to meet its financial commitment.

PhilRatings took into account the company’s sustained high levels of cash and cash flows in relation to debt service requirements, its conservative capital structure which may accommodate additional debt and is supported by healthy growth in retained earnings, diversified portfolio with good growth prospects and experienced management team.

At the same time, PhilRatings noted that the rating also considered that despite AbotizPower’s strong profitability in relation to debt servicing in recent years, the margins of the energy sector as a whole have been fluctuating and may continue to do so moving forward.

The power company has an attributable net sellable capacity 2,236 megawatts as of end-March 2014.

Its generation portfolio includes both renewable sources such as hydroelectric and geothermal and nonrenewable sources such as coal and oil.

AboitizPower also has interests in seven distribution utilities covering 18 cities and municipalities across Central Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. source

Friday, August 29, 2014

DOE: 200 MW add’l power supply expected in 2015

Manila Times
August 29, 2014 9:55 pm

TWO of the country’s power producers have given assurances that they can generate at least 200 megawatts (MW) of additional power to meet the spike in demand expected during the next summer, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said on Friday that Petron Corporation and the Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation could produce additional power supply. However, he said that the 200 MW is still way below his projection to meet the expected demand next year.
He said Petron’s coal fired power plant is expected to generate 100 MW by summer of 2015. In addition, First Gen’s power plant in Batangas is also expected to add 100 MW to the Luzon grid starting summer next year.
“Only Avion and Petron are sure and that’s only 200 MW,” he told The Manila Times in a text message.
To address the problem, Petilla said 600 MW is needed to act as a buffer supply during the peak months.
He said there is still no final number for the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which could help alleviate the impact of short reserves next summer.
Under the ILP, firms with standby generators are asked to switch off from the grid and use their generators when called upon to do so.
Petilla, however, said the implementation of ILP is largely voluntary and that most firms are hesitant to participate.
“The ILP is the biggest hope that we have but it also has a lot of problems. Take note that the ILP has been in existence for quite sometime, it’s been on since December. We’ve worked it out already, so you can’t say that the government has no problem,” said Petilla.
He currently estimates the ILP capacity at 50 MW compared to the full 115 MW figure, due to the fact that the generators are not running for 24 hours.
Petilla explained that the country will need 9,100 MW of power next year. This is higher than this year’s demand of 8,700 MW because of a projected robust economy, specially in the manufacturing sector.
Citing the performance of existing power producers and the delays in the completion of some power plants, Petilla expressed fears that a power problem is looming because of the tight supply next year.   source

PSALM reduces selling price of 218-MW Angat hydro plant

Philippine Daily Inquirer
9:48 am | Friday, August 29th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–State-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) has reduced the selling price of the 218-megawatt Angat hydroelectric power plant in Bulacan to $439 million.
PSALM president and CEO Emmanuel Ledesma on Thursday confirmed that the price has been slightly reduced from the $440.88-million offered by Korea Water Resources Development Corp. (K-Water) during the PSALM bidding held in April 2010.
“The roughly $439-million reduced purchase price is a result of the capacity testing of Angat hydroelectric power plant’s main units 2 and 4, as provided under the asset purchase agreement,” Ledesma told reporters.
But he declined to disclose a specific timetable for the signing of the deed of sale and the turnover of the Angat facility to K-Water given that “there are pending issues that prevent the closing” of the sale.
It has been four years since the Korean firm, said to be the leading water resources and power firm in South Korea, bested five other companies in a PSALM bidding to privatize the Angat facility. Other bidders included some of the biggest power players in the country such as First Gen, San Miguel group and the Aboitiz group.
In 2010, K-Water submitted the highest offer for the Angat hydropower plant. But the bidding was questioned and blocked by various groups, thus delaying the awarding process.
It was only in 2012 that the Supreme Court rendered as valid and legal the sale of the Angat power plant to K-Water.
Last year, K-Water sought a reduction of the purchase price as the Angat hydroelectric power plant allegedly deteriorated from the time K-Water made a bid in 2010, due to PSALM’s failure to operate it over the years, the South Korean firm earlier said.
K-Power had also asked the government to pay P300 million worth of unpaid municipal property taxes by PSALM and state-run National Power Corp., stressing that these taxes would be a “severe burden to K-Water as the municipal government signaled difficulties in … [granting] permits and licenses until the taxes are fully paid.”–Amy R. Remo source

M'nao power generator to refund consumers

By Butch D. Enerio
Friday, August 29, 2014

A POWER generator in Mindanao said it will refund its consumers following an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ruling.

Therma Marine Inc. (TMI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power announced Friday that it has already set aside P12.695 million for refund to Mindanao consumers.

The June 16, 2014 ERC refund order covers the difference between the provisional rate approved by the commission and the final but lower ancillary charge.

TMI and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) entered into an Ancillary Service Purchase Agreement (ASPA) between 2010 to 2011.

The ERC further ordered the refund to take effect in 12 months or P1.057 million per month starting the next billing cycle. ERC estimated the impact to Mindanao consumers will be around P0.0015/kwh reduction.

The refund will be course through the NGCP.

"We will abide by the ruling of the honorable commission and we will coordinate with the NGCP in order to effect the refund as soon as possible," said TMI president and COO Jovy P. Batiquin.

Although the ERC ordered TMI to refund NGCP to the amount of P392.577 million, but TMI manifested that the grid operator NGCP has pending uncollected payables of some P379.881 million. This leaves the net refund amounting to P12.695 million.

The ASPA between NGCP and Therma Marine ended in 2011. Ancillary power maintains the integrity of the grid and critical to the grid for voltage regulation, emergency backup and peaking power.

Therma Marine operates two oil-fired barges in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and Maco, Compostela Valley province. The two barges combine for 200 MW.

It serves more than 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in Mindanao, helping them cushion the effects of the power shortage in Mindanao.

“TMI’s operational cost is 90 percent for fuel, which is a pass-on-through charge to consumers. The remaining 10-percent is for the salaries of our employees, spare parts, insurance, maintenance costs and capital recovery," Batiquin explained. source

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 29, 2014.

Alson’s Sarangani plant nears completion

(The Philippine Star) | Updated August 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - By October of next year, Mindanaoans will get to experience the significant initial steps that the private sector, specifically the Alsons Power Group, is taking to alleviate the rampant and long blackouts that have burdened the region since 2010.

With most of the major equipment for its first phase already on site, Alsons Power’s Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) will soon commence final installation work of critical segments such as the plant’s steam turbine generator, main control building, permanent jetty, smoke stack, transformer, and coal storage.

The Alsons Consolidated Resources (ACR) board of directors recently held its first-ever board meeting in Sarangani and General Santos and subsequently paid a visit to the SEC plant to get a firsthand impression of the major milestones achieved since construction of the plant started early last year.

SEC vice president for project implementation Nicandro R. Fucoy facilitated the tour. The $570-million power facility is currently the single largest investment in Region 12 and is the first to locate inside the Kamanga Agro-Industrial Economic.

The SEC power project currently has close to 2,000 employees working on site, around 80 percent of whom are residents of the host community of Maasim, Sarangani.

These local workers were trained through the plant’s award-winning Maasim Technical Competence Center (MTCC).

SEC in partnership with the regional Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) equips MTCC trainees with skills and in welding and fabrication, maintenance and plumbing and electrical installation. source

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NGCP warns of power outages in areas with ROW tiffs

Business Mirror
28 Aug 2014
Written by Lennie Lectura
THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) warned on Thursday power outages will occur in areas with perennial right-of-way (ROW) problems.

For instance, the 26.5-kilometer Baloi-Marawi 69-kilovolt (kV) line in Lanao del Norte, which transmits power to Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative and Mindanao State University, frequently trips because residents intentionally plant trees along the line, NGCP President Henry Sy Jr. said.

“Because of these ROW violators, the line tripped eight times in the month of June, which lasted from 40 minutes to almost five hours. In the end, it is the consumers who suffer.”

According to the grid operator, landowners deliberately plant along their lines to demand unreasonable amounts in exchange for permission to enter their properties for line maintenance. As a result, line clearing and maintenance took longer for NGCP line personnel.

“ROW violations add to our maintenance cost because we have to clear-up the lines before we maintain or repair it. Our personnel also have to extend working hours to finish these activities,” Sy said.

The privately owned transmission network operator said it regularly conducts a massive information campaign to local media and host communities on the ROW violation issue. It also seeks the local government unit’s assistance to solve the problem.

“Local government units will be a big help to us by talking to these landowners to allow us to enter their properties to maintain our lines. We need their assistance because, not only our operations get affected, but also the local cooperatives and end-consumers,” Sy said.

The NGCP, which operates, maintains and develops the country’s power grid, transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines and towers, substations and related assets. source

MGB lifts suspension on Philex’s Padcal mine

Business World Online
28 Aug 2014 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga

THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has lifted on August 27 the suspension order on Philex Mining Corp. in connection with the tailings-pond leak at the Padcal mine in Tuba, Benguet, that happened on August 1, 2012.

The decision in favor of Philex finally allows the company to resume normal operations at Padcal more than two years after the incident.

In a letter to Philex President Austin Eulalio Jr., MGB Director Leo L. Jasareno said, “The issues emanating from the tailings-spill incident have been substantially addressed to warrant the resumption of the normal operation of Philex under the existing mining contracts with the government.”

Philex Mining issued a statement welcoming the decision.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Philex Mining Corp., said: “We are delighted that the government has taken careful notice of our efforts as its partner toward environmental protection and economic development through responsible mining. This has made us more resolute in our adherence to sustainable development.”

For his part, Philex Mining President and CEO Eulalio Austin Jr. said: “We are grateful to our employees, outlying communities, and all other stakeholders for their support and hard work to make us continue being a responsible miner,” Austin said.

Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs Michael Toledo said the company is always more than happy to continue working with the government on environmental protection and nation-building through responsible mining, including “our forestation and reforestation projects,” which have harvested a number of awards.

Because of the 2012 incident, Philex was fined twice for violations under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Clean Water Act and was ordered to implement remediation measures.

It will be recalled that over 2 million tons of tailings were accidentally discharged from the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) 3 of Padcal mine to the Balog Creek and Agno River, and for which Philex had to pay P1.034 billion in fines on February 18, 2013.

Philex also paid the government P188.6 million for environmental obligations arising from the tailings spill incident as ordered by the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB). After settling its obligations, Philex was issued a formal lifting order on June 9 in connection with a cease-and-desist order issued by the PAB to the company on November 28, 2012.

Philex has completely sealed the breached portion, while excess water from TSF 3 is now being discharged from an open spillway that replaced the penstock system.

The Mining lndustry Coordinating Council, through its Technical Working Group on Environmental Protection and Legislation chaired by Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection Juan Romeo Nereus O. Acosta, has submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources on January 22 the “Philex Tailings Spill lncident Report,” in which it has found Philex to have undertaken the remedial measures accordingly.

Philex has also issued a letter-confirmation stating that it is the entity liable for the integrity of the open spillway and TSF 3 and submitted proofs on the safety and integrity of the facility. Philex also submitted a sworn accountability statement on July 1, taking responsibility for complying with the appropriate penalty to be imposed in accordance with and arising from the violation of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and the Clean Water Act.

Jasareno also noted that various formal requests were received by his office for the lifting of the cease-and-desist order. These include the Indigenous Peoples of Tuba and Itogon, Benguet and San Manuel and San Nicolas, Pangasinan; Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Party -list; Saint Paul’s Parish of Upper Poblacion, Tuba, Benguet; Sangguniang Bayan of Itogon and Tuba, Benguet; the barangay councils of Barangay Dalupirip and Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet.

In Photo: A Philex Mining employee at work in Padcal. source

AboitizPower unit takes in Vivant as new investor for Cebu plant

Business World Online
Posted on August 28, 2014 09:59:00 PM

A UNIT of Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower) has attracted a new investor ahead of the commercial operations of its 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Cebu, the parent company said in a disclosure on Thursday.

“Therma Power, Inc. (TPI) entered into a shareholders’ agreement with Vivant Integrated Generation Corporation (VIGC) for the latter’s participation of up to 20% interest in Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI)…” according to the disclosure.

TVI is the project proponent of a coal plant -- involving two 150-MW units -- that will be built in Barangay Bato, Toledo City.

TPI is the holding company of AboitizPower’s investments in non-renewable generation assets.

VIGC, on the other hand, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vivant Energy Corp. -- which in turn is 100% owned by listed Vivant Corp.

In its latest quarterly report, AboitizPower said that the notice to proceed (NTP) with all engineering procurement and construction (EPC) activities for the project will be issued by December.

A limited NTP -- involving engineering design and detailed subsurface site investigations -- was issued in May after the EPC contract was awarded to Hyundai Engineering Co. Ltd.

The P41-billion project is expected to be fully operational by early 2018.

The project site was acquired in December 2011 and an environmental compliance certificate for the plant was secured in May last year.

AboitizPower is the power generation and distribution arm of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., which in turn serves as the listed holding firm of the Aboitiz family.

Shares of AboitizPower shed 30 centavos or 0.77% to end at P38.60 on Thursday, while those of Vivant gained 98 centavos or 8.89% to P12. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano   source

Vivant Corp. unit acquires 20% of Aboitiz-led Therma Visayas

Manila Times
August 28, 2014 9:41 pm

TVI to build P41 billion Toledo power plant
IN line with its goal to expand its coal-fired power projects, Vivant Integrated Generation Corp. (VIGC), a unit of listed power firm Vivant Corp., has acquired a 20 percent stake in Aboitiz-led Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI).
TVI is the firm in charge of the construction and operation of a P41 billion 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Barangay Bato, Toledo, Cebu City.
VIGC has signed a shareholders agreement with Aboitiz-led Therma Power Inc., the parent of TVI, paving the way for its involvement in the construction and operation of the P41 billion Toledo plant.
“The agreement involves the entry of VIGC into TVI for a 20 percent equity stake,” Vivant said.
The 300-MW Toledo plant is expected to start operations in the third quarter of 2017. It will have two steam turbines, each with 170-MW capacity, as well as two circulating fluidized bed boilers.
The coal-fired power plant will generate 1,500 jobs during its construction, and will create 150 permanent jobs upon start of operations.
Therma Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of listed power company Aboitiz Power Corp., which is a unit of the Aboitiz family holding firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. source

Our power reserves: An outlook

Business World Online
Posted on 07:06 PM, August 28, 2014
By Claire-Ann M. C. Feliciano, Senior Reporter

AMID THREATS of a supply shortfall in Luzon by the summer of next year, the government continues to look for other sources of power. By this time, it’s too late to start building base load power plants -- or those that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, save for maintenance shutdowns that usually last a month.

Clearly, there’s no way but to look for alternative measures. Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla has been pushing for the government to invoke the power crisis provision of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

This provision will allow the government to lease additional power-generating capacities -- such as diesel-fed generating sets -- whenever the Luzon grid is on red alert.

The saga continues -- the government looking for ways, stakeholders supporting or bucking plans laid out by the department, even as they urge the government to find a more permanent solution.

But no concrete plan has yet really been put in place. If this is not acted upon within the year, the country might face massive rotating power interruptions, which will result in economic losses every single time the lights go out.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Petilla said power problems can be traced to the lack of reliable base load power plants. The government is urging the development of coal-fired power plants, but some projects have been blocked thanks to environmental concerns.

What else do we have?

Francis Giles B. Puno, president of First Gen Corp., said the construction of natural gas-fired power plants is the way to move forward.

“What’s happening is that it’s very difficult to build power plants. We need to find sources of electricity. We can build gas-fired plants quicker than coal-fired plants,” Mr. Puno told BusinessWorld recently.

“That’s something we can offer to the government. This is a relatively cost-competitive source of electricity and it’s very reliable,” he added.

First Gen owns and operates the 1,000-megawatt (MW) Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo power plants in Batangas. It is also building the 100-MW Avion plant and the 414-MW San Gabriel plant, set to be operational by 2015 and 2016, respectively.

By 2019, the Lopez-led company aims to bring in an additional 1,342-MW capacity through natural gas facilities.

This plan is expected to boost the power supply in the Luzon grid, but the country faces yet another challenge -- the gas coming from the Malampaya gas field off Palawan is projected to run out in about 10 years.

The resource area currently fuels First Gen’s existing plants, as well as the 1,200-MW Ilijan natural gas facility, also in Batangas.

Mr. Petilla acknowledges the depleting reserves within the only producing natural-gas field in the Philippines.

With no replacement deposits in sight, the Philippines will have to rely on Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. and First Gen to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from other countries.

Does the future of natural gas in the country depend on the private sector? The Energy chief thinks that, at least in the medium term, the government has no other choice.

Service Contract (SC) 28 -- which lapses in 2024 -- is handled by the Malampaya consortium composed of Shell Philippines Exploration BV, Chevron Malampaya LLC, and PNOC-Exploration Corp.

“When it ends, it doesn’t mean that there will be no more natural gas.

The estimation on the reserves are ongoing and it keeps on changing,” went Mr. Petilla’s optimistic outlook.

“Latest figures show that after 2024, there will be a few more years -- maximum is five -- that the Malampaya reserves could still produce gas to power the 2,700-MW power plants that run on gas,” he said.

Even before the contract was awarded to the consortium, it was common knowledge that the reserves would be depleted as the years passed.

“When Shell submitted its field development plan for Malampaya to the national government in 1998, we already projected the need for further development phases to maintain plateau production and meet the obligations under the GSPAs (gas supply purchase agreement) with gas customers,” said Shell Upstream communications manager Paulo B. Gavino.

The consortium allotted $1 billion to undertake Malampaya phase 2 (MP2) and phase 3 development (MP3) to maximize the gas field.

“MP2 and MP3 in combination will sustain the level of gas being extracted from the Malampaya reservoir for electricity production, as such maximizing Malampaya’s value in providing reliable supply of cleaner energy to power the country’s growth,” Mr. Gavino said.

With the inevitable future of the Malampaya gas field, Mr. Gavino said “more investment in petroleum exploration and production is vital to the future energy security of the Philippines.”

“Shell is working with DoE (Department of Energy and the Petroleum Association of the Philippines (PAP) to promote ease of doing business, and to address regulatory issues that hamper the development of the upstream petroleum industry,” Mr. Gavino said.

“A stable and transparent regulatory framework will help attract investments to the Philippines,” he added.

But where do we go after we max out the gas field’s capability? Mr. Petilla said the Philippines will bank on the private sector and its eagerness to put up LNG import facilities to support the natural gas industry.

“Shell is interested in power plants that would serve as off-taker of its gas. The floating regasifier has a potential to support up to 400 MW,” Mr. Petilla said.

“On the other hand, First Gen is preparing for the eventuality that Malampaya gas will run out so they want to come up with their own regasifier, which will be land-based. They don’t need an off-taker because theirs will be used to support their own plants,” Mr. Petilla said.

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. is still awaiting the final investment decision on its LNG import terminal in Batangas. Country manager Edgar O. Chua earlier said this will come from the parent company, Royal Dutch Shell Plc. “Final investment decision will be dependent on when we can secure the contracts for the off-takers. If we complete that within this year -- which is what we are working on -- then we can get the final investment decision next year,” Mr. Chua said.

Shell intends to build an LNG import facility -- which involves a floating storage and regasification unit -- near its oil refinery in Tabangao, Batangas.

Shell officials said it will take two to three years from the final investment decision before the project becomes operational.

The planned import facility will have a 170,000-cubic meter capacity. It will be capable of fueling power plants generating a total of 2,000 megawatts.

As part of its plan to continue investing in natural-gas facilities, First Gen is also eyeing its own import terminal in its Batangas plant site.

“Many companies have their own programs to ensure that natural gas will come into the country. Many plans are pushing at the same time,” Mr. Puno said. “We are also trying to develop an LNG import terminal, which will be conveniently situated adjacent to its anchor power projects, ensuring synergies in both power plants and LNG terminal operators.”

First Gen is in discussion with suppliers for the replacement gas that will be used by its facilities once Malampaya runs out, Mr. Puno said.

Yet despite the private sector’s willingness to support the natural gas industry, the Energy department has yet to come up with a study that would determine the cost impact of producing electricity from indigenous natural gas versus imported gas.

“It is difficult to come up with a computation. Also, we still don’t have a regulatory framework at this time,” Mr. Petilla said.

He said the department is working on a master plan on developing the country’s natural gas industry.

“The contents of that plan include how we can encourage the development of LNG in this country. It will also have details on who will sell this and at what cost,” Mr. Petilla said.

Mr. Petilla admitted that the country has “limited direction” as far as natural gas is concerned.

“I am looking at where we are going because there is no specific policy focusing on natural gas,” he said.

The private sector has been prodding the government to develop this master plan so the industry can spur interest in developing the indigenous resource.

“The country has been blessed with a lot of indigenous resources. We suggest that the government create a one-stop shop for investments in the gas industry. Also, they should establish a gas quality standard, and provide tax incentives,” Shell’s Mr. Chua said.

For Kit Chan, manager of Shell Global Solutions’ Energy Master Planning, considerations in order to develop a master plan involve government policies, internal and external factors, gas supply, infrastructure, and regulatory framework.

“Government policies are needed and these policies include specific objectives and a regulatory framework,” Mr. Chan said in a recent forum.

“We should also consider external factors like global and regional economic conditions, oil and gas prices, oil and gas developments in other countries, and new discoveries of hydrocarbons,” he said.

Internal factors include population growth, and the development of the country’s politics and economy, he noted.

Amid all these things, the country’s Energy chief acknowledges the threat of a power supply shortage and the imperative to move forward and start developing projects that will meet the ever-growing energy demand. source

Small-scale power generators offer services to gov’t to ease shortage

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Small-scale power generators are urging the government to tap this growing industry to help avert a looming supply shortage next year.

Applied Systems Manufacturing, a local generator set manufacturer, said small-scale power generators are as capable of producing power as the big generators.

Company president Roland Lorilla said instead of just relying on big corporations and multinationals to build power plants, the government can include small power generators in the country’s energy portfolio.

“We must free up the market dominated by big power companies by including small investors who can generate their own power requirement and feed the excess to the grid,” Lorilla said.

He said this can be done if the government allows net metering for all energy sources.

“We must put in place policies that make small scale power feasible and profitable,” Lorilla said.

The net metering system is provided under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008. It allows electricity end-users who are updated in the payment of their electricity bills to their distribution utility to engage in distribution generation.

“We are facing an impending power crisis. With net metering, we can make use of more than 2,000 megawatts of standby power in malls, factories buildings and other establishments. The government must grant incentives to owners of generating sets to get into net metering so they can feed their excess power to the grid and supply the shortfall in capacity. It must also grant incentives to power distributors who are adversely affected by net metering,” Lorilla said.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has proposed the declaration of the state of emergency in the power sector to allow the government to tap additional power and avert a looming power shortage next year.

He said the Philippines will need 9,011 megawatts of power next year, higher than this year’s demand of 8,717 MW, on the back of the projected growth in the economy.

Petilla proposed the lease of bunker-fired big generating facilities from abroad to provide additional power.

However, Lorilla said the government will be spending less if it uses these funds to grant incentives to local power generators that have existing standby generator sets. source

ERC to NGCP: Refund P12 B to Mindanao customers

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has ordered the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), the country’s power transmission operator, to refund P12 billion to its customers in Mindanao for ancillary services charged to them.

In an order, the power sector regulator said NGCP can implement the refund in 12 months or P1.05 billion per month.

“Accordingly, NGCP should reflect the refund to its customers starting the next billing cycle upon the receipt of this order,” the ERC said.

The ERC said the net refundable amount is P12.69 billion for a monthly refundable amount of P1.057 billion. This would translate to an estimated decrease in electricity bills of P0.0015 per kilowatt-hour.

The refund order comes after the ERC ordered NGCP to recalculate its ancillary services procurement agreement (ASPA) rates using lower rates approved by the commission.

Ancillary services are necessary to support the reliable transmission of power.

The subject of the refund order is NGCP’s procurement agreement with Therma Marine Inc.

The billing period covered by the order is from February 2010 to March 2012.

In calculating the rates that NGCP should have billed its customers, the ERC said it considered the changes in the economic indices during the period, the changes in fuel cost, and the changes in insurance cost.

NGCP is a privately-owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power transmission network.

It is a joint venture between State Grid Corp. of China and OneTaipan Holdings of Henry Sy Jr., the eldest son of mall magnate Henry Sy.

The company won a 25-year concession to run the country’s transmission assets after it took over the management of the country’s national transmission network in 2008 from the state-owned National Transmission Co. source

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Group urges P-Noy to focus more on power generation and job creation

Business Mirror
27 Aug 2014 Written by David Cagahastian

CIVIL-SOCIETY group Citizenwatch has proposed several action plans that the Aquino administration should focus on in its last two years in office, particularly in the areas of power generation and promotion of medium-scale enterprises to create more jobs.

In a recent roundtable discussion among the conveners of Citizenwatch, the need to lower the costs of power and to provide for a reliable source of power for industries was underscored as one of the most important problems that must be addressed by the government.

Prof. Dindo Manhit, who convened the roundtable discussion, enumerated possible action plans that can address the looming power crisis.

Free trade advocate Nonoy Oplas of Minimal Government Thinkers Inc. said that the government must reduce red tape to be able to make the Philippines competitive, especially in light of the upcoming integration of the ten members of the Asean. He said that reducing red tape would help in addressing many of the country’s problems, including the power crisis.

“In energy for instance, I think [Energy] Secretary Jericho Petilla said that feasibility studies show that building a power plant will require about 100 signatures from the barangay to the Department of Energy, etc. In this case, more government is a problem,” Oplas said.

The coming financial integration of the 10 Asean members was also discussed, with focus on providing for financing for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a program that will make Philippine industries competitive with its counterparts in other Asean countries.

Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation said that the financing of MSMEs is critical to the Philippines because these types of enterprises comprise 99 percent of our entire economy.

“One of the disadvantages of our local industries is financing. We are the only ones still talking about it whereas our neighbors have already resolved the issue of financing for MSMEs,” Ortiz-Luis said.

Alfredo Yao, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also provided his suggestions on how to make the country competitive amid the Asean integration. He said that the government needs to address the concerns on power, infrastructure and red tape to be able to attract more foreign investments when the Asean integration starts in 2015.

“In the several forums that we have conducted, the high cost of power and logistics, inadequate transport infrastructure, conflicting laws and regulations, issues related to taxation, business permits and licensing, and access of SMEs to financing and technology were the most common concerns raised that beset the private sector’s readiness for and competitiveness under AEC [Asean Economic Community],” Yao said.

“There is a need for the government and private sector to heed the adoption of an industrial road map for Philippine industries to be able to compete with the forthcoming Asean integration. This should mainstream the enhancement of a competitive business environment, where SMEs are able to participate effectively and benefit from the global production network being built by Asean with its trade partners and important export markets,” he added.

Citizenwatch is an independent network of professionals, which advocates for the interests of not just the less privileged sector, but also of society as a whole whose mission is to stand up against powerful interests whenever they curtail the citizens’ right to health, safety, financial security and right to fully participate in democratic society. source

Genset maker to DOE: Expand PHL’s energy portfolio

Business Mirror
27 Aug 2014 Written by Lenie Lectura

A LOCAL manufacturer of power generators has called on the government to include in the net-metering program all forms of energy sources to help the administration solve the anticipated power shortage in Luzon next year.

Net metering, as defined by the Energy Regulatory Commission, allows electricity end-users who are updated in the payment of their electric bills to their distribution utility (DU) to engage in distributed generation.

However, under the said program, they can only generate electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, not exceeding 100 kilowatts. The participants can then supply electricity that they generate directly to their DU.

Roland Lorilla, president of Applied Systems Manufacturing Corp., said that a long-term solution to the country’s power shortage is to include small-scale power generation in the country’s energy portfolio.

“We must free up the market dominated by big power companies by including small investors who can generate their own power requirement and feed the excess to the grid. To do this we must allow net metering for all energy sources. We must put in place policies that make small-scale power feasible and profitable,” he said.

At the same time, he called on the government to grant incentives to owners of power generators to participate in the net-metering program so they can feed their excess power to the grid to be able to plug the supply deficiency which the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates anywhere between 300 megawatts (MW) and 500 MW in summer of 2015.

“It will de difficult to solve our energy shortage by just relying on big corporations and multinationals to build power plants. What we need to do is to completely liberalize the power-generation market to include small-scale power generation as a source of power,” Lorilla said.

DUs, such as the Manila Electric Co., should also be granted incentives because they are adversely affected by net metering program of the government, added Lorilla.

“The government must provide incentives to small scale-power projects of whatever type and energy source in the form of tax exemption for fuel and equipment. Fiscal incentives like accelerated depreciation and tax holidays make a big difference in making small power projects feasible. Government financial institutions must be mandated to provide financing for small-scale power-generation projects,” he pointed out.

The DOE earlier suggested that the government purchase or lease modular generators that could cost billions of pesos. “Why spend P6 billion to rent gensets from overseas? The government will be spending less and also get to keep the money in the country if it uses these funds to grant incentives to power generators by refunding the taxes and duties paid for the existing standby gensets when they were imported, by buying net-metering devices to feed excess power to the grid and granting other incentives like tax-free fuel and income-tax holidays,” Lorilla said.

Lorilla’s company manufactures diesel-fed generators, diesel compressor sets, lighting towers and switchgears, and electric vehicles, among others. The company was established in 1986.

Green group slams Cabinet for looming power shortage

THE Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) has scored Cabinet members for blaming the Supreme Court (SC) for the looming energy crisis, saying the ban on the operation of the coal-fired Redondo power plant is not the cause of the feared power shortage next year.

In August 2012, SC issued a writ of kalikasan against Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) and upheld the contention of the residents of Bataan and Zambales that the coal-fired power plant would wreak havoc on the environment.

The writ prevented the company from constructing a 600-MW plant within the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area which would have been operational this year.

Earlier this year, the DOE through the Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla also said they want “a bill which would fast-track the processing of permits and, if possible, no temporary restraining orders against energy projects.”

PMCJ stressed that there is nobody else to blame for the sorry energy situation than the current administration.

“Throwing the blame at the SC will not absolve the government of its culpability,” PMCJ National Coordinator Gerry Arances said. “The decision of the SC merely reflected the will of the people that are against coal. The writ was reflective of the people’s stand against this government’s push for increased dependence on coal.”

Under the Aquino administration, permits granted to coal-mining projects have nearly doubled, from 39 coal operating contracts in 2007 to 71 COCs in 2013.

The number of approved coal plants has increased for the same period.

In addition to 17 coal plants (with 28 boilers) with a total of 5506.2- MW capacity are currently operational across the country, 25 more coal plants (with 45 boilers) of up to 9,054-MW capacity have been approved as of mid-2014 (committed and indicative) and railroaded for final construction by 2020.

This is up from 17 coal plants (with 29 boilers) with 4,584 MW approved in less than a year ago. This is in addition to another 12 more coal plants with 2,480-MW capacity proposed in the same year.

“From the very start, the Power Development Planning of the government was already flawed. It failed to provide the people a meaningful participation in the decision-making. It did not provide a mechanism that would give the people an avenue to confront the government in the event that the people felt that their choices are not reflected in government decisions.” Arances added.

PMCJ believes that the act of throwing the blame onto the Judiciary is part of the grand design of the administration to circumvent democratic processes, to blunt the will of the people, and to discredit legal measures that support the people’s choice.

“This crusade is led by none other than Secretary Petilla, supported fully by President Aquino himself, to prepare the way for the exercise of emergency powers,” Arances claimed.

The government should apply the lessons it learned at the DOE-sponsored Panay Multi-Sectoral Development Planning (MSPDP) process in 2004.

MSPDP was initially created to address the power crisis and growing concerns on the environmental impacts of power plants which resulted to a transparent process designed to provide people’s participation in the industry’s priority-setting process.

The Panay MSPDP must be replicated as it was efficient in demonstrating that a grassroots process can have the technical rigor practiced by the corporate sector or the state in energy management.

“Furthermore, considering that renewable energy law [RE law] has been in effect since 2008 and the negotiations on the RP Energy projects began in 2011, the government already had three years to fulfill its mandate to allow the increase of RE share in generating capacity. Had the government been diligent in pushing coal and enforcing the RE law, that puts RE as a preferred energy choice. The energy supply in Luzon would have been sustained without the Redondo coal plant. In its own study and RE program, the DOE puts the RE potential of the country at a high level. Even without solar power, the country has 200,000 MW of potential renewable energy sources,” Arances argued.

“The people must not be deprived of their right to participate in government affairs and their preferred choice of accessible and affordable clean, renewable energy,” Arances concluded. source

With Marvyn Benaning

DOE warns of power rate hike

Manila Times
August 27, 2014 10:35 pm

THE Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday warned of a possible power rate hike if the court order for the garnishment of Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) funds is carried out.
The sheriffs of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)-Quezon City (QC) Office of the Clerk of Court and Ex-officio Sheriff earlier issued notices of garnishment to PSALM’s banks, customers, and other energy industry partners.
This is in accordance with the Supreme Court Special Third Division’s Resolution favoring the claims of NPC (National Power Corp.) Drivers and Mechanics Association (NPC-DAMA) amounting to P60.24 billion.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said if the Supreme Court (SC) stands pat on its decision, PSALM has no other options but to look for additional funds through loans.
“What I’m looking at as a way out here is to source out an additional loan if the Supreme Court will not change its decision,” said Petilla.
He further explained that in the event PSALM secures an additional loan, that in turn, will have to be passed on to consumers.
“If PSALM will have an additional loan because of the garnishment in order not to affect its operations, this will be charged to the people because that’s part of the operating cost,” he added.
The DOE chief could not give a clear estimate of how much that would mean for power consumers. He only cited an estimate based on the last hearing of the PSALM Board that at least 19 centavos per kilowatthour (kWh) would be passed on to consumers in the case of a P14-billion loan.
Given this, Petilla said PSALM has filed a motion for reconsideration before the SC asking the latter that the matter be taken up and decided upon by the Court en banc and not just by a special division.
“We are hoping that the SC will reconsider its decision or perhaps it may lower the claim because P62 billion is a big problem to the finances of PSALM,” he added.
Earlier, Emmanuel Ledesma Jr., PSALM Corp. president and CEO, warned there could be a nationwide power shortage if their funds were garnished.
He explained that in such case, PSALM’s long-term debts would become immediately due and demandable, which would result in an operating cash deficit and would lead to a power shortage nationwide.
“If our funds are garnished, our long-term debts would become immediately due and demandable,” Ledesma said. This would result in an operating cash deficit, which would lead to a power shortage nationwide, he added.
Petilla also pointed out that the garnishment would cause financial imbalance for PSALM because it could no longer pay for fuel for its plants.
PSALM is responsible for the fuel supply and operations budget of its owned power plants, namely the Malaya Thermal Power Plant in Luzon, Power Barges (PBs) 101 and 102 and Naga Coal-fired Thermal Power Plant (CFTPP) in the Visayas, and PB 104 in Mindanao, all of which produce around 430 MW in dependable capacity.
PSALM is also obliged contractually to provide for the fuel requirements of Independent Power Producer (IPP) plants, namely Ilijan Natural Gas Power Plant (NGPP) in Luzon, and the Zamboanga Diesel Power Plant (DPP) and General Santos DPP in Mindanao. source

Philex, Napocor in deal to reforest watershed

Business World Online
Posted on August 27, 2014 09:59:00 PM

PHILEX Mining Corp. has agreed with the National Power Corp. (Napocor) to identify parts of a watershed in Benguet to be reforested over five years.

A PHILEX miner use a drilling machine under Mt. Santo Tomas in northern Benguet. -- AFP
This follows the visit of Napocor President Gladys Sta. Rita to the Philex Padcal Mine, during which she asked Philex to reforest at least 100 hectares within the year.

According to Philex Mining Senior Vice-President Manuel Agcaoili, Philex has identified potential reforestation sites within an area of some 500 hectares around San Roque Dam near the Padcal mine’s tailings storage facility no. 3.

“We have agreed to meet again and identify the areas that are going to be reforested under a program that we have proposed to them earlier,” he said.

Napocor now owns the San Roque Dam which is operated by the San Roque Multipurpose Project, under a power purchase agreement by the San Roque Power Corp.

The proposed tree planting activity, according to Padcal Community Relations Manager Feliciano Diso, Jr., should be approved and carried out in cooperation with Napocor.

The company added that it will be hiring seasonal workers from the outlying neighboring communities for the project.

Reforestation of 100 hectares takes three years, according to the company’s environment quality monitoring and enhancement department.

Philex said it has already planted some eight million trees in about 2,500 hectares of land in Itogon and Tuba. -- Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas source

Power shortage feared amid PSALM cash woes

State firm warns partners against allowing funds to be garnished
By Riza T. Olchondra 
Philippine Daily Inquirer
8:00 am | Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Warning that the precarious power supply situation in the country could turn into an outright crisis if it loses funds due to a garnishment order by a local court, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corp. has warned partners against releasing the state firm’s receivables and bank deposits to any third party.
“If our funds are garnished, our long-term debts would become immediately due and demandable,” PSALM president and CEO Emmanuel R. Ledesma Jr. said in a statement. “This will result in operating cash deficit, which will lead to power shortage nationwide.” PSALM and its private sector partners have received garnishment notices stemming from a finalized Supreme Court decision, circa 2008, on a class suit filed by National Power Corp. (Napocor)-Drivers and Mechanics Association members over their termination in 2003.
PSALM’s current loan agreements state that garnishment is a ground for default which will activate the payment an “acceleration clause”—meaning creditors will demand immediate payment of loans. Also, defaulting in one loan will cause other loans into default mode, making way for a flood of demand letters to PSALM.
Ledesma said this would make PSALM obligated to instantly settle outstanding obligations amounting to P329 billion as of June 2014. An unscheduled expense such as this would force PSALM to rely on the national government for support through advances or additional government borrowings, he said.
And if PSALM runs out of funds, it would be virtually unable to perform its functions, Ledesma said, which includes operating the remaining state owned energy facilities: Malaya thermal power plant in Luzon, Power Barges (PBs) 101 and 102, and Naga coal-fired thermal power plant (CFTPP) in Visayas, and PB 104 in Mindanao. Together, these facilities produce around 430 megawatts (MW) in dependable capacity.
PSALM is also providing the fuel requirements of the Ilijan natural gas power plant (NGPP) in Luzon, as well as the Zamboanga diesel power plant (DPP) and General Santos DPP in Mindanao. The private-sector Independent Power Producer (IPP) operators are not allowed to procure fuel for these facilities.
Ledesma also said that if the Independent Power Producer Administrators allow the garnishment of payments to PSALM, the state firm would be unable to pay IPPs, in breach of its contract. PSALM is contractually responsible to pay for the capacity fees for the following power plants with appointed IPPAs: Bakun Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEPP), Ilijan NGPP, Pagbilao CFTPP, Sual CFTPP and San Roque HEPP. The capacity/energy fees for the following power plants without IPPAs are, in contrast, PSALM’s direct obligations which will likewise be adversely affected: Benguet Mini-Hydros, Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan HEPP, Casecnan HEPP, General Santos DPP, Mindanao CFTPP, Mt. Apo 1 and 2 Geothermal Power Plant (GPP), Unified Leyte GPP and Zamboanga DPP. source