Malampaya gas restriction to lower Ilijan plant’s generation capacity


The recurring production restriction from the Malampaya gas field will reduce again the power generation of the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Ilijan gas-fired power plant in Batangas City.

Based on a Manila Bulletin report, the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) sent an advisory Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and South Premiere Power Corporation (SPPC) stating that Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) will have to further restrict the gas fuel supply for the Ilijan plant to 5,643 gigajoules per hour.

As result, the plant’s generating capacity was be de-rated to 720MW per hour beginning last Friday (April 15), a reduction of at least 480MW from its installed capacity.

KEPCO is the Ilijan plant’s operator, while SPPC — a San Miguel Corporation subsidiary — is its independent power producer administrator. SPEX, meanwhile, is the operator of the Malampaya gas platform.

NAPOCOR said it has no specific timeline yet on when restriction of gas supply from Malampaya will ease, but it assured KEPCO that they will be notified of any changes.

Last April 9, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced that First Gen Corporation’s 414MW San Gabriel gas fired power plant, also in Batangas City, also shut down due to SPEX’s gas restrictions.

Power rates in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) practically doubled in March from February due to the simultaneous bogging down of power plants, which was aggravated by reduced output from Malampaya. Based on data from industry sources, daytime WESM prices have been shooting up to Php20 per kilowatt hour since April 12. 

The rise in spot market prices, in turn, triggered an increase in electric bills of Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) customers for April. Should this trend continue, another surge in power bills may be expected in May. 

NGCP has also warned of a possible power supply shortage in Luzon in the coming months, not only because of plant outages, but also due to quarantine travel restrictions.


Photo from SMC Global Power website.