DOE requires full accounting of coal inventories

Published January 13, 2022, 4:18 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has required the country’s coal-fired power plants to submit full report of their ‘fuel inventories’, including shipment details that they may encounter if the Indonesian coal export ban is lifted.

“We required them (power firms) full reports…the requirements that we would need to assess if we have full inventory and what are expected to happen on the scheduled deliveries (of coal). All of those are linked challenges,” DOE Director Mario C. Marasigan told reporters in a press briefing.

The energy official met with the power company-members of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association Inc. (PIPPA) Tuesday, Jan. 11, primarily to discuss the power sector’s predicament of possible fuel supply shortages if the coal export ban policy will not be eased by the end of this month.

According to Marasigan, most of the generation companies (GenCos) communicated that they are compliant with the 30-day minimum inventory requirement (MIR); and there are players that also have coal stockpile of to 45 to 50 days.

He hinted though that one or two companies may encounter problems – although he has not given details which power plants are these that have wobbly situation on their coal supply.

“Initial picture, if on the required minimum 30-day inventory, one or two have problems. But the players are also talking…some of them (have supply) that extend up to 45-50 days,” Marasigan reiterated.

Apart from the physical inventory of coal supply for the electric generating facilities, Marasigan indicated there would also be a need for collaboration with other agencies – to include clearances and documentation that the GenCos will need for new coal shipments into the country, especially with the ports under the oversight of the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

“It’s not just DOE that is involved here. We’ve seen concerns to be addressed by other agencies, for example, if the export ban suddenly eases, the coal deliveries could pile up. The question there is: are our ports ready? That we have to address, and before we can address that and engage other government agencies, we need to know the full picture,” he stressed.

The DOE official pointed out the ‘full reports’ are warranted “because we need to know the full picture – like where the shipments will be delivered to; which ports they will be discharging the coal shipments.”

He conveyed “we have yet to receive all the reports (from the GenCos) based on agreement (in the meeting) – so our actions will depend on their report submissions.”

Marasigan emphasized that an all-inclusive assessment of the situation is critical, with him noting that “it may be difficult if we’ll say: we are ready to address, then the picture is not complete because the GenCos have not fully assessed their respective situations.”

He cited that “there are instances of coal supply procurements already paid and readied for shipment, but then these were suddenly stalled…there were also those that they’ve been first in line already for shipments but they were overtaken by the coal export ban policy, so there are different situations per power plant.”