“Gas Swapping” scheme eyed to mitigate brownouts


Power stakeholders are looking at a possible “gas-swapping” arrangement that will result in a gas allocation for the 1,200 megawatt (MW) Ilijan power plant which has been on shutdown since June 2022.

In a report by Business World, representatives from First Gen Corp., Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO), South Premiere Power Corp., and Prime Energy have met with the Department of Energy (DOE) to come up with solutions to mitigate brownouts in the coming summer months. 

The DOE is looking at 12 possible yellow alerts for the entire year, which includes the entire month of May. 

The parties also discussed the allocation of 80 standard cubic foot of First Gen’s Malampaya banked gas to operate the Ilijan plant. Under this plan, the Ilijan plant can generate 400 MW to 1000 MW to support the increase in demand for power from March to July and prevent brownouts. 

The Ilijan power plant has been on shutdown since June 2023 following the expiration of the build-operate-transfer arrangement between the government and SPPC. 

While the Ilijan can’t source its gas from the depleting Malampaya gas field, it could run on diesel but it could result in higher prices for consumers amid skyrocketing fuel prices in the world market. 

Formal announcements, however, have yet to be made by the DOE. 

“At this time, the possible arrangements cannot yet be confirmed. The DOE continues to call on everyone concerned to cooperate in the common effort to assist the consuming public,” DOE said in a statement released on Thursday. 

Nevertheless, the DOE is encouraging power stakeholders to work together in exploring measures that will help consumers, especially in Luzon, by ensuring power supply in the upcoming summer months.