To help mitigate the looming power shortage next year, a Japanese firm wants to put up a natural gas plant in Luzon.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said Marubeni Corp. of Japan has offered to set up a 200-megawatt (MW) natural gas plant at no cost to the government.
But before Marubeni pushes through with the project, Petilla said the company would like to have a “good price” for the gas from the Malampaya natural gas field.
“The offer of Marubeni is they want to put up a merchant plant at no cost to government but on condition that they be given a good price for the gas because they will just have to pipe it,” Petilla told reporters over the weekend.
The Malampaya natural gas field, which is located in northwest Palawan, will serve as the plant’s fuel of Marubeni.
The government could not offer the 150 MW to 200 MW banked gas because it will have to go through public bidding, according to Petilla.
“I can’t give them the banked gas because it has to be bid out . Otherwise I might go to jail for it,” Petilla told reporters over the weekend.
Instead, Petilla advised Marubeni to negotiate with Shell Philippines Exploration B.V., the operator of the Malampaya gas facility, for its own banked gas estimated at 150 MW to 200 MW capacity.
One problem being anticipated by the DOE for the Marubeni plant is the projection that Malampaya gas is only available after April 2015.
“The problem is, the [Malampaya] consortium said the gas is only available after April 2015, when the pressure at the Malampaya gas field normalizes. They cannot pull out the gas until end of the year,” Petilla said.
Instead of sourcing out gas from Malampaya, Petilla suggested that Marubeni should use diesel for its proposed plant.
“I said, take a hit on diesel and run on gas end of the year,” Petilla said.
Marubeni is a member of the TeaM Energy Philippines consortium, together with Tokyo Electric Power Corp., which operates the Pagbilao coal plant in Quezon and the Sual coal plant in Pangasinan.
TeaM Energy also has a 20 percent stake in the 1,200 MW Ilijan natural gas plant in Batangas that uses natural gas.