EPI completes test-drill for 40-MW geothermal plant

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Emerging Power Inc (EPI) has successfully completed drilling in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro, with its initial wells showing a reservoir that can generate up to 40 megawatts of geothermal power, a top company official said on Thursday.

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EPI Chairman Antonio Zamora said one of the wells was 1,200 meters deep but the other one went deeper at 1,250 meters and the measured temperature of the wells was 181 centigrade, which is “more than the 170 centigrade we originally estimated.”

“We were able to start flow testing last Wednesday. Because of this successful small hole drilling, EPI expects to award the production well drilling soon,” Zamora said.

The company tapped the expertise of Quest Exploration Drilling, an Australian-based company. Drilling work started last December.

The Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the company’s power supply agreement with power distributors in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. The well pads straddle the barangays Montelago, Montemayor and Melgar.

Antonie de Wilde, the Dutch chief technical officer of EPI, said the drilling confirmed their assessment of a reservoir that can generate from 35 to 40 megawatts.

“Based on flow testing during the last days we are cvery pleased to confirm that our earlier assessment of a reservoir capacity to generate 35 to 40 megawatts is now confirmed with the actual measured data,” Wilde said.

Zamora said the geothermal plant was expected to bring the cost of electricity in Mindoro from P11 per kilowatt-hour to P6.58 per kilowatt-hour.

He said the Mindoro plant could make the country one of the world’s leading sources of clean geothermal power.

Other renewable energy projects by EPI include a 10-MW solar project in Camarines Sur, a 2.5 MW biogas project in Quezon and a 10-MW solar and bunker hybrid project in Northern Palawan.

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