By Myrna M. Velasco
At least 12 new geothermal wells had been committed to be drilled by the Sy-led Philippine Geothermal Production Company, Inc. (PGPC) for the 747-megawatt Tiwi and Makiling-Banahaw geothermal power plants in Albay and Batangas provinces.
This has been a major provision of the new Geothermal Resources Supply and Services Agreement (GRSSA) that the company had inked with power plant owner AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI) of the Aboitiz Group. The deal was formally signed August 24 this year.
For the well drilling, the Sy-owned geothermal firm’s pledge is to carry out this task over six years. No investment figure had been given for the scheduled drilling works.
In a statement to the media, APRI emphasized that steam availability from the new wells would be able to boost the power plants’ generation by about 20 percent. The installed capacities of the plant are 458MW for MakBan and 289MW for Tiwi.
As far as the geothermal resource supply is concerned, the Aboitiz firm indicated that it “ensures a more competitive fuel pricing in the long term.”
To note, when the Tiwi and MakBan plants were privatized by state-run Power Sector and Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) in the last decade, geothermal steam pricing had been referenced then on Barlow Jonker coal price index.
Essentially, according to APRI, the new steam wells to be drilled will guarantee “the long-term operations of the two renewable power plant facilities.”
As emphasized by APRI President and Chief Operating Officer Alexander B. Coo, the firm is “committed to deliver reliable and renewable energy to our power customers,” adding that the deal “secures the continued viability of the power plant facilities.”
PGPC is now wholly owned by the Sy group, which is the richest family in the Philippines – that was following the divestment of American firm Chevron Corporation of its shareholdings in the contractor-vehicle firm of the steam field assets.
According to PGPC President Napoleon L. Saporsantos Jr., “the sustainable operation of the geothermal steamfield is our way of supporting the country’s long-term energy needs through the supply of reliable, clean and indigenous energy resources.”
The Tiwi and MakBan plants are very vital resources of the country that to a great extent had elevated its stature to be one of the biggest geothermal energy producers in the world