Government resets Malaya thermal plant bidding to March 30

By Lenie Lectura – March 8, 2017

from Business Mirror

THE government has rescheduled the bidding for the 650-megawatt (MW) Malaya thermal-power plant mainly due to a new requirement that is seriously being considered to be included in the terms of reference.

Originally, the auction was set for March 8. The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) said on Wednesday  the new bidding date is on March 30.

“The bidding date has been moved to March 30 with the same bidders. The final transaction will take into consideration the requirement of the Department of Energy for Malaya’s conversion to a base-load LNG [liquefied natural gas] plant,” PSALM Officer in Charge Lourdes Alzona said.

Just recently, Energy Secretary Afonso G. Cusi, who sits as PSALM vice chairman of the board, wants the winning bidder of the power asset to convert the Malaya plant into an LNG plant.

In the planned conversion, Cusi cited the need for more power-generating capacity, particularly base-load power, which is defined as power that runs 24/7. LNG, Cusi said, has been identified as base load.

“What I am trying to say is that even after privatization, we would not run out of power. The country still has to source power so why not convert it to LNG so we can have base-load power? It’s an expression of concern on my part. The winning bidder may just operate Malaya as it is, so why not convert it to a superior technology that will qualify as base load?” Cusi said.

Alzona said this new requirement is “currently under discussion and we will defer to our board.” The secretary of finance is the chairman of the PSALM board.

A possible rebidding, to take into consideration the new requirement, was not mentioned. Alzona said for now, only the four bidders who earlier submitted letters of interest qualify to join the auction. They are APT Global Inc., Phinma Energy Corp., Riverbend Consolidated Mining Corp. and AC Energy Holdings Inc.

When asked if new interested bidders can still join, Alzona said, “They can if there will be a new bidding.”

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is still interested to join the bidding. It was not able to submit its letter of interest then, but company president Ramon S. Ang said the power business of SMC is very much interested to convert its Malaya plant into an LNG plant.