APC Group set to drill two wells in Kalinga geothermal prospect

APC Group Inc., a listed holding company partly owned by retail tycoon Henry Sy,  may start commercial operations of a planned geothermal power project in Kalinga, Apayao by 2019 or 2020, depending on the outcome of exploration.

APC Group executive vice president and chief finance officer Jackson Ongsip said in an interview during the annual stockholders’ meeting the company would drill two exploration wells to determine the reserves of the geothermal prospect.

“If the exploration wells will prove the existence of a commercial source, we will start the construction of a power plant soon after. Construction of power plant may take two to three years to complete,” Ongsip said.

He said exploration activities would be completed by 2016 and that the power plant might come on stream by 2019 to 2020.

Ongsip did not give details on the planned geothermal power plant and the capital investment requirement.

Data from the Energy Department indicate that construction of a 100-megawatt geothermal power plant could cost $300 million.

APC Group is trying to obtain an environmental clearance certificate from the Environment Department and conducting engineering works before it could start drillings.

APC Group has investments in mining and geothermal assets. Belle Corp., controlled by Sy, owns 49 percent of APC Group. The company earlier teamed up with Chevron Geothermal Philippines Holdings Inc. and Guidance Management Corp. of businessman Jack Rodriguez to explore the geothermal reserves.

Ongsip said the partnership with Chevron would give the company the financial muscle to undertake the huge project.

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