2 new power plants on track — First Gen

First Gen Corp. of the Lopez Group plans to complete its 97-megawatt Avion and 414-MW San Gabriel natural gas projects in Batangas province in the next 10 months.

First Gen president Francis Giles Puno told reporters at the sidelines of a forum First Gen was spending around $750 million to build two natural gas projects.

The company is building the Avion project at cost of $100 million to $150 million and the San Gabriel project for $550 million to $600 million.

“Avion’s a little late. It will come online by the end of the year. San Gabriel [is by the] second quarter of next year,” Puno said.

The Avion project was earlier scheduled for completion in time for the dry months early this year.

“There were delays on site preparation,” Puno said.

He said said the output of the power projects would initially be sold at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market, the country’s electricity trading floor.

The Malampaya natural gas project off northwest Palawan supplies fuel to to the existing 1,000-MW Sta. Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo power plant, which are both owned by First Gen Corp.

First Gen is pursuing a third phase of expansion that will comprise of two units of a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant with a total capacity of 800 MW.

All stations will be located within the power plant complex of the Santa Rita and San Lorenzo facilities in Batangas.

First Gen confirmed it was open to the possibility of teaming up with local or foreign companies for the development of a liquefied natural gas receiving, storage and re-gasification terminal using LNG imported from abroad to address the expected depletion of Malampaya gas starting as early as 2022.

A land-based LNG re-gasification terminal is estimated to cost around $1 billion.

First Gen reported a 7.1-percent decline in net income attributable to parent of $95.3 million in the first half from $102.7 million year-on-year.

First Gen attributed the decline to the lower earnings booked by unit Energy Development Corp., resulting from the outage of the Tongonan geothermal power plant in Leyte, trading losses in the Unified Leyte strip business, higher operating expenses and typhoon-proofing works.

“Despite the positive contribution of the gas projects, EDC’s geothermal operations suffered reliability issues which we are now addressing. Due to the aging fleet of EDC’s portfolio, we will implement major rehabilitation programs in order to prevent any unforeseen outages going forward,” Puno earlier said.

“Moreover, we continue to focus our efforts on bringing Avion to commercial operation in the third quarter of 2015 so that it can augment power available to the grid. San Gabriel’s construction is likewise progressing with all the major components already on-site,” he said.

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