2 PNOC-EC coal projects classified as ‘Projects of National Significance’

By Lenie Lectura – October 25, 2018
from Business Mirror

TWO coal-exploration projects of the Philippine National Oil Co.–Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) were classified as “Projects of National Significance” under Executive Order (EO) 30.

These two are the Coal Operating Contract (COC) 185 and 186 in Zamboanga Sibugay.  Both are in the predevelopment stage.

COCs 185 and 186 intend to conduct exploration activities, including geologic, mapping, block boundary survey and drilling to determine the extent, volume, behavior and quality of coal seams for possible coal-mining operations in line with the Department of Energy (DOE) directive to explore and develop indigenous energy resources of the country.

COC 185 covers an area of about 2,000 hectares.

Meanwhile, COC 186 is composed of five coal blocks and has a total area of over 5,000 hectares.

The two coal projects seek “to explore and develop the COC as part of PNOC-EC’s commitment to harness indigenous sources of energy.”

PNOC-EC posted P1.2 billion in net income at end-September this year, higher than the P959 million it posted in the same period a year ago.

There are now six energy projects certified by the DOE as Projects of National Significance.

Earlier, Atimonan One Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corp., the power-generation arm of Meralco, is putting up the country’s first ultra supercritical coal power plant in Atimonan, Quezon province. The facility’s capacity is 2 x 600 megawatts (MW).

The DOE also declared the 151.2-MW Talim wind-power project of Island Wind Energy Corp. as a Project of National Significance.

The project, which is in its predevelopment stage, was certified under EO 30 on August 30. It is located in Talim Island, Binangonan and Cardona, Rizal.

The target commercial operations date of the first 80-MW plant is in June 2020 and the 70-MW plant would be in June 2021.

The DOE earlier declared the Kalinga geothermal power project of Aragorn Power and Energy Corp., the power unit of Sy-led APC Group Inc., as an energy “project of national significance.”

The DOE approved Aragorn’s application on August 14.  The project is in its predevelopment stage, involving the development of steam fields that can generate anywhere between 100 MW and 200 MW.

In May, the DOE certified the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project (VMIP)  as the first power project under EO 30.

The VMIP involves the interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao via Cebu and Zamboanga. The project is estimated to be completed in 46 months with an estimated cost of P52 billion.

The Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project is meant to interconnect the major grids into a single national grid expected to help improve the overall power-supply security in the country as sharing of reserves will already become possible.

EO 30 states that concerned government agencies shall act upon applications for permits involving Energy Projects of National Significance (EPNS) not exceeding a 30-day period. If no decision is made within the specified processing timeframe, the application is deemed approved by the concerned agency.

This effectively reduced the time to process the permits needed by the power projects to take off.

In order for an energy project to be considered under the EPNS, power-generation and transmission projects must have a capital investment of at least P3.5 billion, significant contribution to the country’s economic development, significant consequential economic impact, significant potential contribution to the country’s balance of payments, significant impact on the environment, complex technical processes and engineering designs, and significant infrastructure requirements.