• Eastern Petroleum, MVP group in talks on biomass plant

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    INDEPENDENT oil firm Eastern Petroleum Corp. and the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) group have started exploratory talks to partner in a biomass power generation plant in Agusan del Norte.

    Michael Toledo, senior vice president for corporate affairs at Philex Mining Corp. and spokesman for the MVP group, said they plan to venture into biomass power generation with Eastern Petroleum.

    “We’re planning to do something together on biomass. You know very well that we are also into renewable energy so that it is really one of the priorities of the group,” Toledo told reporters in a chance interview.

    Toledo did not give specific details on the possible partnership, saying discussions are still in the preliminary stages.

    “We don’t know exactly the details yet but Meralco has several renewable energy programs as well, so we are very supportive of renewable energy,” he added.

    Fernando L. Martinez, Eastern Petroleum chairman, said they need good partners for the biomass project in order to promote it in the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) market.

    Martinez said Eastern Petroleum has already started construction of the biomass plant, which will be undertaken by subsidiary Caraga Renewable Energy Corp.

    “We are almost done with the ground preparations. So it’s a matter of structural [design]. If we finish the financial closing, I’ll be bidding the structural design and erection,” he said.

    He said financing will be sourced from local and foreign banks.

    The project will come in two phases, with one unit to have capacity of 23.5 megawatts (MW) and the other unit will generate 23 MW.

    Eastern Petroleum had originally targeted to commission the biomass plant this year but it met delays in securing permits.

    The biomass facility would source its feedstock requirements from a 10,000-hectare industrial tree plantation in the province.

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