The Department of Energy is set to award four new renewable energy service contracts that will allow two energy firms to explore and develop prospective geothermal blocks in Luzon.
For signing and awarding are contracts for the Negron-Cuadrado geothermal project in Zambales and Pampanga; Iriga prospect in Albay and Camarines Sur; Mariveles geothermal prospect in Bataan; and the East Mankayan block in Ifugao, Benguet and Mt. Province.
Mario Marasigan, director of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau of the DOE, said in an interview that the agency was hoping to award the contracts before the election ban on new contracts for government projects.
“The election ban starts in January for specific activities and we are not sure if the issuance of contracts is included. We have yet to coordinate with (the Commission on Elections), but to be sure, we have (to award the contracts) before March 29, the start of the general coverage of the election ban,” Marasigan explained.
The Negron-Cuadrado geothermal block is being sought by AP Renewables Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp.
AP Renewables owns and operates the 289-megawatt Tiwi geothermal power plant complex in Albay and the 458.53-MW Makban geothermal power facility in Laguna and Batangas.
Listed firm Basic Energy Corp. is interested in the three other prospects—the Iriga, Mariveles and East Mankayan geothermal blocks. In September, Basic Energy disclosed to the bourse that it was expecting to secure service contracts to explore these three frontier geothermal concession areas, after it passed the requirements prescribed by the DOE.
The East Mankayan geothermal area lies east of the Cervantes, llocos Sur geothermal block of Pan Pacific Power Phils. Inc., south of the Bontoc-Sadanga block, which is operated by Magma Energy Resources, and south of the Daklan block operated by Clean Rock Energy.
The Mariveles, Bataan, geothermal area is situated along the West Luzon Volcanic Arc, which starts in the area of Mt. Pinatubo in the north and extends farther south across the Manila Bay toward Batangas and northeastern Mindoro.
In the meantime, the Iriga, Camarines Sur, geothermal area is bounded to the north by the lsarog geothermal block of PNOC Renewables Corp. and to the east by the highly productive Tiwi geothermal service contract area of AP Renewables. The areal landscape is dominated by Iriga or Asog Volcano.