State-run Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) is targeting to escalate its coal exploration and production ventures as it accelerates planned installation of a 50-megawatt mine-mouth power plant in Isabela province.
According to PNOC-EC President and CEO Rozzano D. Briguez, the propounded mine-mouth power generating facility will be utilizing proven reserves of 20 million metric tons, and he deems it “a pioneering undertaking utilizing low rank indigenous coal.”
The proposed power plant was previously cast in the firm’s investment targets, but implementation failed to gain traction for some time. A mine-mouth power plant is built close to the coal mine – and the coal fuel it will be using would be excavated straight from a dig site, placed on a conveyor belt and fed directly into the power facility.
PNOC-EC indicated that while it has been contributing to the country’s coal requirements through the years, it will still need to step up on production – taking off from the 1.3 million metric tons and 757,000 MT outputs it generated from two of its producing coal operating contracts (COCs).
Onward, Briguez noted that “PNOC-EC will prioritize projects with higher projected revenues; and thus, we are focusing on the development and production of mines in COC 41 (Zamboanga Sibugay coal mine project); and the development of coal mine-mouth power plant project in COC 122 in Isabela.”
Further, the government-run firm will continue with exploration projects at its coal operating contracts 185 and 186 in Zamboanga Sibugay in Mindanao; and “will pursue exploration in new COCs through the DOE’s (Department of Energy) contracting program.”
“Taking advantage of the high quality of coal in Zamboanga-Sibugay, PNOC-EC is looking into production from two underground mines by 2025,” the PNOC-EC chief executive said.
He emphasized the state-run firm’s “underground coal mine operations will remain as the largest of its kind in the country.”
Part of the company’s investment game plan is to also “assess the potential of coal bed methane,” which is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams.
In pursuing the array of projects currently in their investment blueprints, Briguez conveyed that “PNOC-EC will adapt to more intensive approach;” including data-viewing options that can be cloud-based for all of its operations, while in parallel enforcing warranted safety protocols “to ensure safeguard of life and property.”
He opined that companies “which can adapt immediately to changes in the business ecosystem survives.”
For roughly two decades, PNOC-EC advanced multiple coal exploration ventures, but Briguez qualified they had to relinquish at least four of their concessions “either due to peace and order problems, social acceptability and low prospectivity.”
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