Thursday, August 31, 2017

GNPower Mariveles taps local banks for $800-M refinancing

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 31, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  Aboitiz-led GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co. (GMCP) has tapped five local banks to raise as much as $800 million for its refinancing activities.
GMCP signed a notes facility agreement with BDO Unibank Inc., China Banking Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Security Bank Corp. and Philippine Bank of Communications for up to $800 million, Aboitiz Power Corp. disclosed yesterday.
BDO Capital & Investment Corp. is acting as sole mandated lead arranger of the transaction.
GMCP said proceeds would be used to “among others, refinance its existing loans and for other general corporate purposes.”
In January 2016, the project company secured funds from five undisclosed banks to finance 70 percent of the construction cost of the first unit of the 2x660-megawatt (MW) supercritical coal-fired power plant in Mariveles, Bataan.
The first 660-MW expansion is on track for completion in 2019, AboitizPower president and COO Antonio Moraza said in a text message.
“The first unit is (scheduled for completion in the) second half of 2019,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said, the second unit is still in the planning stage.
The plant is an expansion of the existing 2x345-MW coal plant in the same area, which started operating in 2014.
It is owned by Nauruan-American firm Power Partners Ltd. Co. and by AC Energy Holdings Inc. of the Ayala Group with 20 percent.
AboitizPower entered the picture when it bought out the Blackstone Group – World Power Holdings L.P. and Sithe Global Power L.P., which have a combined 66.1 percent interest in GMCP.
At the same time, the Aboitiz firm also acquired the Blackstone Group’s 40 percent interest in GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co.
Both transactions, which were completed in December 2016, amounted to $1.2 billion.
Now, GMCP is a private limited partnership among Therma Mariveles Holdings Inc. and Therma Mariveles Camaya B.V. – both AboitizPower subsidiaries, with Mariveles Coal Project GP Corp., Power Partners Ltd. Co. and AC Energy affiliates Arlington Mariveles Philippines GP Corp. and Arlington Mariveles Netherlands Holdings B.V.

Russian, Slovanian firms aid DOE in evaluating nuclear-power plant

By Lenie Lectura -  August 30, 2017

NUCLEAR-POWER experts from firms in Russia and Slovania are assessing the chances of a possible revival of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
The Department of Energy (DOE) said on Wednesday representatives of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp., the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex, and Slovania’s Gen Energija, are in the country “to make a preliminary assessment of the possibility and viability of rehabilitating the plant.”
“The DOE Nepio [Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing organization], headed by Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos, together with representatives from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute [PNRI] and NPC [National Power Corp.], started the kick-off meeting with representatives from Russia’s Rosatom, Slovenia’s Gen Enerjia and internationally known nuclear firm Worley Parsons at the NPC Nuclear Village in Bagac, Bataan, on August 30,” an advisory from the agency stated.
The activity will define the scope of work for the prefeasibility study of the possible rehabilitation of BNPP. According to the agency, the study is being provided by Rosatom for free as part of the cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.
Seven working groups have been established to undertake the study, which would start next month. The conduct of a study will take two months.
The 620-megawatt (MW) BNPP is the country’s first and only attempt at nuclear-power development. It was supposed to be the first of two nuclear plants to be built in the northern province of Bataan. It was also the first nuclear power plant in Southeast Asia, and was identified as a solution to the 1973 oil crisis that had adversely affected the global economy, including the Philippines.
The project, however, was mothballed in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. But clamor for the reopening of the BNPP was revived during the power crisis in the 1990s and the skyrocketing oil prices in 2007.
During these periods, the DOE actually came close to reconsidering nuclear power as a potential energy source for the country.
But then the Fukushima nuclear-plant incident occurred in 2011, creating global panic and concerns about the safety and integrity of nuclear plants.
In March the DOE identified Sulu as among the areas being eyed for a modular nuclear-power plant, with a capacity of 100 MW at most.

DOE eyeing faster, more transparent CSP scheme by December, Cusi says

By Lenie Lectura - August 30, 2017

THE energy department is eyeing to hold public consultations to meet its December target of conducting another oil and gas licensing round via competitive selection process (CSP).
“We may start it in December,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said. The agency, he added, must conduct public hearings first. “Part of government procedure is to have it bid out always,” he said. “Public hearings are part of the process and we will conduct one soon.”
The government, Cusi added, is veering away from the traditional Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR), in which the Department of Energy identifies possible petroleum exploration sites. The current system is meant to lure local and foreign oil-exploration firms to submit bids to the agency, which will then evaluate the offers of these companies for at least 100 days. After which, the service contracts will be signed, approved and awarded by MalacaƱang.
The DOE wants to improve the current system, in a bid to fast-track the entire process.
Cusi said the agency would no longer identify the potential sites fit for petroleum exploration. Instead, prospective investors are the ones who will identify the potential sites that interest them.  Thereafter, they should submit a detailed exploration offer to the DOE, and wait for their proposal to undergo a CSP.
“This will facilitate exploration process because work will be divided,” Cusi added, saying that the offer would be published in order to promote transparency.
The DOE launched in May 2014 the fifth PECR for petroleum.
A petroleum service contract has a seven-year exploration period, which could be extended to up to 10 years. Should this phase succeed, the contract will enter into a 25-year development or production period.
“The difference is that you would have to wait for the DOE for announcement that we are going to open this area for exploration for contracting. This takes long. Now, interested private companies will be the ones to identify and tell us which areas they want to explore. A CSP will take place. Overall, the entire process would be much faster,” Cusi stressed.
The exploration arm of the Philippine National Oil Co., Cusi said, can also participate in the new scheme.