Malampaya completes maintenance shutdown

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2017 - 11:28pm

MANILA, Philippines - Natural gas plants have now shifted to cheaper fuel after the consortium operating the Malampaya gas project completed its 20-day maintenance shutdown yesterday.


“We have been informed by Shell Philippines Exploration Corp. (SPEx) consortium that as of 7 am [Thursday], they can deliver natural gas. Currently, power plants are converting from diesel to natural gas,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said in an interview yesterday.

During the 20-day maintenance schedule, no instances of inadequate power supply occured owed to favorable weather conditions and demand side management, the official said.

“There is sufficient supply because we are helping each other in coordination meetings. More importantly, we want to emphasize on the demand side, that demand was really low. It can be attributable to the weather, also demand side management,” Fuentebella said.

The Malampaya gas project supplies fuel to around 40 percent of gas-fired plants in Luzon, namely the Ilijan, Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo, San Gabriel and Avion plants—which supply 3,211 megawatts (MW) to the Luzon grid.

Among the natural gas plants, Ilijan Unit 2, Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo and Avion plants ran on alternative fuel to continue operation and generate electricity during the maintenance period.

Natural gas fuel only costs around P4 per kwh  and using replacement fuel, such as diesel, would double costs to P6 to P8 per kwh.

To mitigate sudden drops in power supply, the government operated the state-owned 650 MW Malaya thermal power plant in Rizal to boost power supply in Luzon.

Interruptible Load Program participants with a total of 900 MW were also on standby in case of emergency in the power grid.

To minimize the burden on consumers, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has proposed to stagger the implementation of the expected power rate hike following the Malampaya shutdown starting March until May.

Meralco’s overall rate for the March billing is expected to increase by about P0.9174 per kwh.

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