SoKor firms keen on partnering with PNOC-EC on two projects

By Paul Anthony A. Isla, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 07 2012 08:39 AM | Updated as of Sep 07 2012 08:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Several South Korean companies have expressed interest to partner with the Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) in building two 100-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plants.

Silvestre Punsalan III, vice president and compliance officer, said the board will be selecting the transaction advisor for the said coal-fired power plant in Isabela and Zamboanga Sibugay.

The transaction advisor, Punsalan said, will help PNOC-EC identify a partner from any of the six companies that include Korea Electric Power Corp. Two of the six companies are said to be highly interested with the project.

He added that they will build a 100-MW mine mouth power plant in the Zamboanga-Sibugay coal mine, and a 100-MW mine mouth power plant in Isabela.

Punsalan said PNOC-EC is willing to take a minimum stake of 30 to 49 percent in the two power projects. “We choose to have a minority stake since we are not a power company,” he added.

Punsalan said the two coal power plants could entail $400 million in investments.

PNOC-EC expects the transaction advisor to finalize the terms of reference for the bidding of the construction projects either in November and December this year. The auction will take place in the first quarter of 2013 and awarding of the contract is expected to happen in the second quarter.

Punsalan said the power plants may be operational by 2016.

PNOC-EC officials earlier said San Miguel Corp. has also expressed interest to partner with the company to develop the Isabela and Zamboanga Sibugay mine-mouth power plant.

San Miguel has several coal interests through its energy unit, San Miguel Energy Corp., which bought three coal companies which have coal mines in South Cotabato.

“The power plants are at 100 MW each and will be coal-fired using PNOC-EC’s coal mines. It will reduce logistics cost of transporting coal. Isabela and Zamboanga Sibugay are underserved provinces and the plants will hopefully boost business climate and generate needed employment,” the officials said.