Meralco firming up coal talks

by Alena Mae S. Flores – November 29, 2015 at 11:15 pm

from Manila Standard

Meralco PowerGen Corp., a unit of Manila Electric Co., plans to firm up negotiations with a prospective partner for the $2 billion, 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Atimonan, Quezon province.

Meralco president Oscar Reyes said talks were ongoing with “a number of parties but we are not yet in the position to discuss whom we are talking to.”

Reyes said the joint venture partner should be “very well established.” “We will focus on who would be the best partner for Atimonan.”

Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said Meralco PowerGen could build the project on its own, although a joint venture partner would help spread the risks.

“From purely financial perspective, we don’t need a partner but it’s big, 1,200-MW, costing $2 billion, so [we should] spread the risk,” Pangilinan said.

“For Atimonan, we may need foreign partner so long as Meralco has majority stake,” he said.

Meralco PowerGen senior vice president Angelito Lantin said the company had received environmental compliance certificate of the Atimonan project. The engineering, procurement and construction tender processes have started, with the company expecting responses by the end of 2015.

Meralco PowerGen will select the preferred EPC contractor for the Atimonan project by mid 2016 with construction to follow.

“Early works target to start early 2016 such as access road and resettlement site construction. Target completion of unit 1 is late 2020,” Lantin said.

Meralco PowerGen is set to start next year the construction of of the Atimonan and two other coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of up to 2,255 megawatts.

The other two projects are the 455-MW plant of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. in Quezon province and 600 MW by Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. in Subic.

“Participation in power generation is highly strategic for Meralco. Without any generating capacity, Meralco would effectively be only a price-taker and a supply-taker. We look forward to building a portfolio of highly fuel efficient, highly reliable power generating facilities of up to 3,000 MW in joint venture with strategic partners,” Reyes earlier said.

The San Buenaventura coal project is a joint venture between Meralco PowerGen and New Growth B.V., a unit of The Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. of Thailand.

San Buenaventura, in which MGen has a significant interest, has started work on plant site preparation before proceeding to a financial closing and the actual construction job.