First Gen earmarks $530M for 2021 capex

First Gen plants resume operations

Lopez-led First Gen Corporation is allocating about $530 million (around Php25.4 billion) in capital expenditures (capex) for this year to mostly fund geothermal, gas, and hydro projects this year.

First Gen CFO Emmanuel Antonio Singson said during the firm’s virtual annual stockholders’ meeting on Wednesday, they are expecting to spend most of the capex for Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) projects, the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Batangas, and the Aya pumped storage project in Nueva Ecija. 

More than half, or about $280 million, will be used to fund EDC’s drilling activities, investments, and binary geothermal projects, namely the 3.6MW Mindanao 3 and the 29MW Palayan Bayan project. Meanwhile, $120 million will go to the development of the LNG terminal and $60 million will be for the 120-megawatt (MW) Aya project. 

EDC will particularly be targeting higher capex this year due to the halting of key activities last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Singson said the completion of the firm’s Interim Offshore LNG Terminal (IOT Project) would be very timely with Malampaya’s resources on the decline. On Tuesday, Senate energy committee chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said that Malampaya — the country’s major source of indigenous fuel — will completely run out of gas by the first quarter of 2027, citing data from the Department of Energy.

Officials likewise said the development of the LNG terminal will help the 1,200MW Santa Maria gas plant project to go online by late 2024 or early 2025. 

Meanwhile, the 100MW Aya pumped storage facility is seen to be the country’s pioneering variable-speed pumped storage facility. 

First Gen recently reported a 22.8% increase in first quarter profits to $128.8 million from $96.8 million in the same period last year. Before this, its profits went down by seven percent to Php13.7 billion last year.

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