Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SMC Eyeing 3 Hydro Projects To Beef Up Power Investments

..MANILA, Philippines --- San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will be beefing up its investment portfolio in power generation with three hydropower projects it is currently applying for with the Department of Energy.

According to the department's Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB), the energy unit of SMC is still sorting out concerns relating to National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) as to its prospective hydropower developments.

"San Miguel has three applications for approval subject to clarification on NIPAS issues," the DOE bureau has noted.

REMB Director Mario Marasigan has expounded that "the areas are still being finalized" and that SMC, being the project proponent has yet to respond to NIPAS concerns raised by the department.

The NIPAS Law or Republic Act 7586 sets outs protection of "remarkable areas and biologically important public lands" that are habitats of rare and endangered species of plants and animals.

Apart from the expansion plans that the company has been exploring in the Luzon grid, it is also set on developing greenfield generation facilities in Visayas and Mindanao.

The sites it set on blueprint are Leyte and Panay for targets of 600-megawatt and 150-MW facilities, respectively; and the others would be 300-MW coal-fired plant in Davao del Sur and 150-MW in South Cotabato.

With the divestment of its Limay acquisition last year, San Miguel gained new leverage at expanding its portfolio without confronting yet the danger of breaching the market share limits prescribed under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

In the company's recent annual stockholders' meeting, SMC chairman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. manifested that their energy business will continue to bring in sizeable share in their projected revenue of P1.0 trillion in the near term.

"We have already identified potential investments related to our existing businesses, chief among them the power sector, mining and the oil and gas segments," he stressed.

The company's purchase of Exxon Mobil assets in Malaysia is considered among its "gold mines" that will further cement its foothold in the energy sector - not only in the domestic market but also on its global invasion.

Company officials are similarly expecting significant gains from the completion of the $1.8 billion investment upgrade for their oil refining facility in Limay, Bataan.

"By 2015, our infrastructure projects will begin generating significant cash flow, and once finished, our upgrade of Petron's Bataan refinery will result in greater efficiencies, a shift toward more profitable, value-added products and better margins," Cojuangco added.