PNOC-EC eyes partners for 2 power projects

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State-run Philippine National Oil Co. – Exploration Corp (PNOC-EC) is in talks with the Hitachi Group and Sumitomo Corp. of Japan for a possible partnership in developing two 100-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plants—one in Isabela and another in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“We’re inviting partners,” PNOC-EC president Pedro Aquino told reporters. “A group from Hitachi and Sumitomo, through their consultants, went to inspect the site and the resource.”

Aquino said the visit was made in early August. The schedule of the talks had yet to be firmed up but Aquino said Hitachi and Sumitomo seemed more interested in the power plant project and not so much in mining.

The Hitachi group has developed a technology that cuts CO2 emissions and boosts efficiency in coal-fired power plants.

Sumitomo Corp., for its part, has developed expertise in various mining and power generation activities. It is also engaged in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, consumer and lifestyle products, metals, transportation, construction, infrastructure and environment projects.

PNOC-EC said it intended to maintain minority stakes in both power plant projects as it already owned the coal resource for the facilities. Ideally, Aquino said, the joint venture for the power plant would also cover the mine-mouth operations (requiring little transportation from the coal mine to the power plant) but it might not necessarily be the case.

“We will enter into a supply contract of 25 years (with the power plant operator),” Aquino said. However, he said there were no “indicative milestone” dates yet as the company still needed the endorsement of concerned local government units.

In January, PNOC-EC said in a statement that its mine-mouth coal-fired plant in Isabela would use the lignite coal from the company’s coal concession in the area, which was said to have enough reserves for a 100-MW power plant. The plant in Zamboanga Sibugay will use the bituminous coal reserves from PNOC’s Malangas coal mines.

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