Published July 17, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
Listed firm Vivant Corporation of the Garcia group is seen joining the three-tiered partnership that will be advancing the development of the 670-megawatt super critical coal-fired power project in La Union province.
The project is currently led by Global Business Power Corporation (GBPC) and had initially engaged Meralco PowerGen (MGen) for a tie-up, power generation companies both under the charge of business magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan.
According to sources privy to on-going discussions among the prospective partners, Vivant is “a strategic choice” because it already has its presence in La Union via the 215-MW Bauang thermal plant.
The equity arrangement, it was further noted, would be more or less “equal among all three partners” in the project “at the range of 30-percent plus each.”
When asked on the matter, GBPC President Jaime T. Azurin indicated that there is a third partner being tapped into the project, but he has not named it directly for now. Instead, he just asserted that “announcement will be made once transaction terms are finalized.”
The La Union project will be sited in a barangay along Luna municipality. It would be a two-phased installation at 335MW capacity each.
The project’s electricity generation had been underwritten by a power supply agreement (PSA) that is still pending for approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
On a per megawatt cost rule-of-thumb of US$2.5 million for the proposed facility, GBPC and partners will be investing US$1.675 billion or roughly P83.75 billion, likely in the 75:25 debt-to-equity ratio.
Azurin said they are now at the process of securing the project’s environmental compliance certificate (ECC), although he qualified that relative to the process, they have been waiting for some clarifications on how to go along with this permitting phase following the issuance of Executive Order 30 by President Rodrigo Duterte on the declaration of energy projects to be of ‘national significance’ that essentially streamlines and harmonizes systems of energy project approvals.
The next major steps in their to-do list would be tapping the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and then the project’s financial closing. “We currently have six (6) in our shortlist for the EPC contract,” he said, but this will only move headway once the proposed facility’s power supply deal would secure regulatory approval.
Azurin intimated that the company’s vision “is to increase our current capacity to 1,500-2,000MW within the next five years,” and the La Union project would be one valuable addition to that goal.
“Now that we’ve secured the baseload requirements of Visayas, we are now ready to expand outside of the region. Central to this goal is the development of the supercritical facility in La Union,” he stressed.