PNOC plans to redevelop 19.2-hectare property in Batangas
MANILA -State-owned Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) plans to redevelop its 19.2-hectare property in Batangas province into an offshore wind integration port to encourage developers to invest more in this renewable technology and accelerate the country’s energy transition efforts.
At a Senate hearing last week, PNOC said the redevelopment of the Mabini port was part of its “high-impact initiatives” that it wanted to pursue next year.
“The original idea was to use this port as a support facility for exploration companies. As it turned out, over the years, most of the cargo offloaded in this port is actually not energy-related anymore,” PNOC president and chief executive officer Oliver Butalid told senators at the Senate sub-finance committee hearing on PNOC’s proposed 2024 budget.
“The original intent of this (Mabini port) being a dedicated port to facilitate importation of energy entities has been somewhat diluted. So we’re bringing it back now but for another energy segment—offshore wind,” he added.
PNOC proposed a 2024 corporate operating budget of P1.96 billion, 60 percent of which, or P1.18 billion, would be used for the Mabini port redevelopment project.
This proposed budget is 86 percent higher than PNOC’s 2023 budget of P1.05 billion.
Energy Supply Base Port
The offshore wind integration port is meant to replace the scrapped Energy Supply Base (ESB) Port Development project on the same port, for which PNOC spent P21 million to conduct a feasibility study.
Sen. Win Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate committee on energy, questioned the replacement of the project, saying that it was “a waste.”
“I feel it’s quite drastic because for many years the old PNOC management came here justifying ESB … after all those years of discussing it here, it will be scrapped,” Gatchalian said.
Butalid, who was elected PNOC president and CEO in July, explained, however, that PNOC had met with offshore wind developers for the project and that the companies expressed their need for a port to “service their needs,” such as the shipment of wind turbines.
“That is the reason why we are into offshore wind. [The project] will be a common service facility,” he said.
Asked whether PNOC would supervise the redevelopment, Butalid clarified that it was considering entering into public-private partnerships or joint ventures, recognizing that it was a specialized technology.
He also said PNOC would be in charge of designing the port to make it easier for offshore wind developers to offload equipment for wind turbines.
“But it will cost likely more than the original [project], that’s why we are exploring going into a joint venture with a port developer,” Butalid added.