The Energy Department has ordered Korea Electric Power Co., operator of the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan combined cycle natural gas plant in Batangas, to keep the plant operational and run it using liquid fuel during the 30-day Malampaya gas field shutdown in March to avert a brownout in Luzon.
The Malampaya natural gas platform in northwest Palawan, which provides fuel to Ilijan and other major power plants in Luzon, is scheduled to go on maintenance shutdown from March 15 to April 14.
The plant is being operated by Kepco while its output is being traded by San Miguel Corp. Aside from Ilijan plant, Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo power plants also utilize natural gas from the Malampaya gas field.
Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada said this would be the first time the Ilijan plant would be forced to shift to liquid fuel, as the facility conducted its maintenance repair coinciding with the Malampaya shutdown in the past.
“Because of the very tight supply, if they have to conduct maintenance, [they should] defer it and run it because we need the additional capacity,” Monsada said.
She said, however, the Ilijan power plant had only one fuel line and shifting to liquid fuel such as pure diesel or biodiesel would require extensive cleaning operations due to possibility of water absorption.