3 power facilities to go offline


Three power facilities with 1,047 megawatts (MW) in combined capacity may not be able to run when the Malampaya gas facility undergoes a 22-day maintenance shutdown in October.

These are Sual Unit 1(647MW), which is set to undergo maintenance from August 4 to October 12; SLTEC Unit 1 (135MW), from August 16 to October 15; and Sta. Rita Module 10 (265MW), from September 4 to October 8.

The Malampaya gas facility, meanwhile, is scheduled for a maintenance turnaround from October 2 to 22. During this period, gas supply will be completely curtailed.

“As this is a Maintenance Turnaround, the Shallow Water Platform and Onshore Gas Plant will not be producing gas,” said Don Paulino, managing director and general manager of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) in a text message.

SPEX is the current operator of the Malampaya gas facility that supplies fuel to around 40 percent of gas-fired plants in Luzon namely the Ilijan, Sta. Rita plant, San Lorenzo, San Gabriel and Avion plants, which supply 3,211MW to the Luzon grid.

Paulino said the Malampaya gas facility could be depleted six years from now. “What I can say is that the reservoir is predicated to produce until 2027.” He could not say if there will be another maintenance activity after October. “Maintenance turnaround is planned in accordance with the needs of the asset. One of the factors we will consider is the outcome of the inspection in the upcoming maintenance turnaround.” Paulino said maintaining the Malampaya deepwater gas-to-power project is needed to ensure the continued supply of gas.

“The October Maintenance Turnaround for Malampaya is part of our regular maintenance plan to maintain the facility and ensure that we can continue to operate safely, reliably and efficiently,” he said.

He added that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the owners of the gas plants have been informed last year about the 20-day maintenance work. “Our stakeholders, particularly DOE and customers, have been informed in the 2nd half of 2020 and the timing was agreed based on the needs of the grid. Our plans are aligned with the plans of our customers and other power plants.”

The DOE, however, said this is no cause for alarm as it “has actually looked at getting alternative ways” for the gas plants—that feed on the Malampaya gas facility—to continue running. The gas plants can run on liquid fuel, which is more expensive.

DOE Undersecretary Emmanuel Juaneza said the agency is looking at alternative fuel sources to fuel power plants that would be affected by the Malampaya shutdown.

“The DOE actually has already looked into getting, you know, an alternative way of running those… especially the Ilijan plant and other gas plants that are capable of running on fuel other than the natural gas,” said Juaneza during the Philippine Development Plan forum organized by veteran journalist Melo Acuna last Friday.

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