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Aboitiz cleared to study gas plant

Therma Batangas Gas Inc. of the Aboitiz Group received approval from the Energy Department to conduct a grid impact study on a proposed combined cycle gas turbine power plants in Batangas City with a total generating capacity of 1,100 megawatts.

The study will determine the impact of the entry of the three power plants to the Luzon grid.

Therma Batangas’ combined cycle gas turbine power project will have three units, with the first generating 300 MW and the second and third producing 400 MW in Barangay Libjo, Batangas City.

Aboitiz Power Corp. senior vice president and chief operating officer of corporate business group Luis Miguel Aboitiz confirmed the natural gas power plant project.

He said the company was preparing ahead of time although the “timing is not necessarily good now.”

“Empty land. Nothing there yet. We are just getting permits,” the official said.

Parent Aboitiz Power Corp. has long expressed interest in building natural gas power plants, including liquefied natural gas, a few years ago but temporarily shelved the plan for economic reasons.

Aboitiz Power was also waiting for the release of a natural gas policy from the government.

The power industry is preparing for the eventual depletion of the Malampaya gas project in northwest Palawan by 2024.

Aboitiz Power chief executive officer Erramon Aboitiz earlier urged the government to jump-start the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal.

An LNG terminal is estimated to cost $1 billion based on industry estimates.

Aboitiz said that if government put up the LNG terminal, it meant the private sector could just purchase the fuel.

“Several groups in the power industry have been actually looking at LNG. We know that First Gen group is very big in LNG and Meralco is also looking at it but I believe all of us face the same problem, which is the cost of building a terminal of a certain size,” Aboitiz said.

“It’s massive, it’s something very difficult for one party to do that alone, maybe that’s something government should do,” he said.

“LNG makes sense from an economic point of view even if the cost of fuel is more expensive. It makes sense for peaking, mid merit operations so you will see that people will start building power plants to be able to supply that portion of the demand,” he said.

Topics: Therma Batangas Gas Inc. , Aboitiz Group , Energy Department , Gas plant study
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