DOE prepping for Malampaya shutdown in October


The Department of Energy (DOE) is preparing for the impending shutdown of the Malampaya gas field this October, which is expected to trigger a hike in electricity rates.

Given this, the agency is looking at alternative measures to address the anticipated supply strain, according to Energy Usec. Emmanuel Juaneza. Malampaya, which accounts for a fifth of the country’s power supply, is scheduled to halt operations from October 2-22 for maintenance work.

Juaneza particularly said that Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi doesn’t want to lose power supply from the country’s five power plants feeding on gas from Malampaya, namely Avion, Ilijan, San Gabriel, San Lorenzo, and Sta. Rita.

While he admitted the cost impact since the plants would now have to run on more expensive fuel. However, the DOE has yet to finalize the shutdown’s price impact.

Juaneza added that the department plans to get plants running on conventional fuel to be back online to make up for lost capacity. Among those being looked at is the 668-megawatt Unit 1 of the GNPower Dinginin coal plant, which is aiming to begin commercial operations on August 26. The DOE is also pushing for ancillary services to address the concern.

Meanwhile, Shell Philppines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) managing director and general manager Don Paulino, in a BusinessMirror report, said that the maintenance turnaround this October is aimed at ensuring the gas field’s safe, reliable and efficient operations. SPEX is currently Malampaya’s operator.

He added that the DOE and the gas plants’ owners have been informed last year about the 20-day maintenance work.