Energy Update: Carbon Tax Risks Adding to Headwinds Facing Singapore’s Refinery Industry

Energy Update | March 14, 2017
Authors: Riley Smith

March 15: Welcome Roundtable for Malaysia Ambassador Zulhasnan Rafique (Washington, DC)

March 27-29: 2017 Malaysia Business Mission

April 5-7: 2017 Mission to the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting

April 26-27: Indonesia Digital Economy Mission

May 8-9: 2017 Singapore Business Mission (Save the Date)

May 10: 2017 Brunei Business Mission (Save the Date)


Carbon Tax Risks Adding to Headwinds Facing Singapore’s Refinery Industry
Singapore will face challenges in ensuring that its recently proposed carbon tax does not adversely affect the competitiveness of the city-state’s refinery industry, which is already facing eroding competitiveness as a result of two trends in the region: growing oil exports from other countries and rising refining capacity.  On February 20, Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat announced that Singapore planned to implement a carbon tax on “large direct emitters” by 2019.  The announcement came as part of his presentation of the Government of Singapore’s (GOS) Budget statement for 2017.  Singapore’s carbon tax would be the first such tax in Southeast Asia.  Prior to its implementation, the GOS will seek input on the proposed tax via public consultations starting later this month.  Consultations with industry stakeholders are already underway.  

According to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), which falls under the Prime Minister's Office, the purpose of the carbon tax is to help Singapore meet its Paris Agreement commitment to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 36% below 2005 levels by 2030.  Even though the city-state is already a marginal contributor to global GHG emissions, accounting for just over 0.1% of emission worldwide, the tax will supplement other emission-reducing and energy efficiency-enhancing measures under Singapore’s Climate Action Plan.  The carbon tax is intended to help the GOS meet its Paris Agreement commitment by incentivizing “large direct emitters” to find innovative ways to reduce their GHG emissions.  The six GHG covered by the tax will be carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) emissions.  The proposed threshold for defining “large direct emitters” will be set at 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent of GHG annually, meaning that power stations and refineries would be subject to the tax.  Overall, GOS data indicates that between 30-40 emitters in Singapore would fall into the “large direct emitters” category.

In his Budget 2017 speech, Minister Heng estimated that the carbon tax rate would be between S$10.00 (approximately US$7.00) and S$20.00 (approximately US$14.00) per metric ton of GHG.  Sushant Gupta, refining and chemicals research director at Wood McKenzie, estimates that this tax rate could cost refiners between US$0.40 and US$0.70 per barrel and negatively affect profit margins by 10-15%.  Whereas the NCCS estimates that the tax could increase operating costs by between US$3.50-US$7.00 per barrel, resulting in a 6.4%-12.7% increase over current oil prices.  To compensate for these increases in operating costs, the GOS has said that the affected “large direct emitters” will receive increased support for improving industrial energy efficiency.  Possible support could include enhanced energy efficiency incentives and assistance with putting in place better energy management systems.  Nevertheless, this support is unlikely to prevent the increases in operational costs from being passed on to power generators and then on to consumers, just as a goods and services tax would.  According to the NCCS’s estimates, electricity prices are likely to increase between 2.1%-4.3%, or roughly S$0.43 and S$0.86 per kilowatt hour with current prices, as a result of the carbon tax.

Even with increased support from the government, the estimated increases in operating costs resulting from the tax risk harming the competitiveness of the Singapore’s refinery industry, which plays an important role in the city-state’s economy.  Singapore is the third largest exporter of refined petroleum in the world, and the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries make up approximately 40% of city-state’s exports, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Singapore’s total refining capacity is 1.38 million barrels per day (bpd), but its domestic consumption is only approximately 200,000 bpd, leaving the city-state’s refineries vulnerable to changes in the export market.  Already, Singapore’s refinery industry is facing increased competition from Malaysia, China, and South Korea, a situation the carbon tax is likely to exacerbate.  For example, in 2016 Singapore’s oil exports to Vietnam decreased to 34% from 38.3% in 2015.  That decrease coincided with significant increases in Malaysia’s and South Korea’s oil exports to Vietnam; in 2016, Malaysia’s oil exports to Vietnam shot up to 26% from 7.2% in 2015, while South Korea’s rose to 16% from 3.4% over the same period.  Vietnam’s construction of the 200,000 bpd-capacity Nghi Son refinery, which is expected to start operations this year, is also likely to reduce its general demand for oil imports.  By 2019, Malaysia aims to commence operations at the refinery in its Refinery and Petrochemicals Industrial District, a facility that will be able to produce 300,000 bpd and 7.7 million tons of petrochemicals each year.  Elsewhere in the region, Singapore’s oil exports to Australia fell 6% in 2016, while Chinese oil exports to the country grew seven-fold over the year.  

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BIMP-EAGA tackles Sabah-Palawan energy connectivity The Manila Times 27th Feb 2017
The possible energy interconnection of Sabah to Palawan has gained the support of the sub-regional organization business group from Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Power. The BIMP-EAGA Business Council (BEBC) presented to the Philippine delegates the proposed Sabah to Palawan Interconnection project. The BEBC, a private sector group, initiated the partnership with the Provincial Government of Palawan aiming to deliver electric power from Sabah to Palawan. The Department of Energy (DoE) expressed full support for BIMP-EAGA Power and Energy Cluster whose thrusts run parallel to the country’s own agenda of ensuring energy security, promoting a low carbon future, achieving total electrification, and improving energy efficiency and conservation. The key output of the cluster meeting is the formulation of the nine-year (2017-2025) Power and Energy Infrastructure Cluster (PEIC) Roadmap for the different sub-sectors such as: Power Interconnection, Renewable Energy (RE), Rural Electrification and Sub-Regional Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) rolling pipeline project as input to the final BIMP-EAGA Vision 2017-2025 (BEV2025).

France's CGG gets Shell seismic gig in Brunei Energy Voice 21st Feb 2017
French geoscience firm CGG said today it had inked a contract to process seismic data for Shell in Brunei for six years. CGG said it would process 2D, 3D and 4D seismic data acquired onshore and offshore for Brunei Shell Petroleum. CGG also said it would look to recruit and train local geoscience-related personnel to support its work. CGG chief executive Jean-Georges Malcor said: “For many decades, CGG has been a leading provider of DPCs to E&P companies around the world, including Shell. “During this time, our reputation as an excellent service and technology partner has been strongly established and we are very pleased that this has led to our selection for this major DPC award in the APAC region. “We look forward to our in-house processing expertise bringing Brunei Shell Petroleum significant benefits in terms of faster project turnaround time and informed E&P decision-making to achieve their business objectives.”

Oil & gas reserves rise Borneo Bulletin Online 9th Mar 2017
The country’s oil production this year is estimated to be at 134,000 barrels per day compared to last year’s 139,000 barrels, YB Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office, said yesterday.

Vietnam, Brunei plan energy work, aim for five-fold trade value jump by 2025 VnExpress International 28th Feb 2017
Vietnam and Brunei plan to work on oil and gas production, food processing and export-import promotion activities as they seek to boost trade by five-fold to $500 million by 2025, the Vietnamese government said. State-run Brunei National Petroleum Company Sendirian Berhad, or PetroleumBRUNEI, and state oil and gas group PetroVietnam will work together in oil and gas tapping and processing, Vietnam's Industry and Trade Ministry said in a statement, citing a deputy minister.


Cambodia to build new 150MW coal-fired power generation plant Asian Power 28th Feb 2017
Toshiba Plant Systems & Services Corporation announced that it has won a contract for a new coal-fired power generation project in the Kingdom of Cambodia, in cooperation with its Southeast Asian subsidiaries, TPSC Engineering (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (TPSC/MLY) and TPSC (Thailand) Co., Ltd. The project covers construction of a 150 MW coal-fired power generation plant in Sihanoukville, on Cambodia’s southwest coast, for Cambodian Energy II CO., Ltd. (CEL2). Generated electricity will be purchased by Electricité du Cambodge. CEL2 selected TPSC on the basis of evaluation of TPSC’s extensive experience and capabilities in power plant construction in international markets, its high level technologies, and its ability to meet strict Japanese criteria for plant reliability and performance. TPSC is the first Japanese company to win a power plant construction contract in Cambodia. TPSC and its group companies will be responsible for the overall project, including engineering, equipment supply, construction work, installation, testing and adjustment. TPSC will manage the entire project and engineering, TPSC/MLY will be responsible for procurement of equipment, and TPSC/THAI will handle construction. Through proactive collaboration, TPSC aims to complete construction by November 2019.

Armed Illegal Miners Resist Ministry’s Efforts for Regulation The Cambodia Daily 23rd Feb 2017
Illegal miners in the remote reaches of Cambodia are repelling government inspectors with armed middlemen, the Mines and Energy Ministry said on Wednesday as it hosted its annual meeting in Phnom Penh. “The problem with eliminating unlicensed mining is that it’s in a remote area, so by the time we reach the site, they’re already gone or out of view. And they have weapons too,” said Meng Saktheara, a ministry spokesman. The middlemen for the operations often hire villagers and buy equipment and weapons to back the operation and intimidate government officials who visit the site, Mr. Saktheara said. “There are people who stay behind who prevent us from inspecting,” he said. Sann Darith, director of the ministry’s office in Mondolkiri province, blamed local authorities for not cooperating better with the ministry’s efforts to root out the illegal operations, most of which dig for gold. “There are three or four illegal mines, but I can’t crack down on them because we don’t have the weapons to protect our safety,” he said. Going forward, Mr. Darith said there would be better communication and coordination with local authorities and military police in order to shut the operations down. “Who will dare continue with those illegal mines, once the Ministry of Mines cracks down?” he added. Unlicensed mines in difficult-to-access regions remained a challenge last year, a report circulated at the meeting says.

US Firms See Investment as a ‘Mixed Bag’ The Cambodia Daily 23rd Feb 2017
U.S. companies considering investing in Cambodia see a “mixed bag” in the country, contrasting heavy spending on infrastructure and a growing focus on IT with slow integration with Asean and high energy prices, a representative for a visiting business delegation said on Wednesday. Delegates from 14 U.S. companies—including General Electric, 3M and Coca-Cola—wrapped up a two-day visit to gauge the country’s investment potential on Wednesday after meetings with a wide range of government officials. Michael Michalak, regional managing director of the US-ASEAN Business Council, said the companies, representing sectors ranging from agriculture to automotive, generally came away optimistic. In discussions on the main brakes on foreign investment, high electricity prices often tops the list. Cambodia is racing to build several more hydropower dams to bring costs down and just last week saw the approval of a major coal-fired power plant expansion in Preah Sihanouk province to serve Phnom Penh. But Mr. Michalak said efficiency was a bigger problem, and one some of the companies saw potential in helping solve. “It’s not so much that [Cambodia is] lacking a lot of energy. It’s that what you have is costing you more than it should,” he said.

Coal-fired plant tests new power generator Phnom Penh Post 31st Jan 2017
Coal-fired plant tests new power generator Structural testing of the third unit of a 700-megawatt coal-fired power plant under development in Preah Sihanouk province has begun, with the new unit expected to go online by the end of the quarter, a government official said yesterday. The 135-megawatt power-generating unit, which was initially slated to be operational last month, will add to the existing 270-megawatt capacity of the massive Cambodia International Investment Development Group (CIIDG) power station, which first fired up in late 2014. A $383 million joint venture between CIIDG, owned by influential Cambodian People’s Party Senator Lao Meng Khin, and China-based Erdos Hongjun Electric Power Co is developing the power plant under a 33-year build-operate-own concession from the government. While the company can officially start selling electricity from the new unit once it passes the compliance checks, Lean said the government has not set a definitive date to start purchasing electricity. That would depend on Electricite du Cambodge (EdC), the state-owned energy provider, he said. This easily eclipsed any single hydroelectric dam project, as well as the 100-megawatt coal-fired plant owned by Malaysia’s Leader Universal Holdings that sits adjacent to it.


Indonesia to merge two mining firms, initial step in forming holding group The Jakarta Post 8th Mar 2017
The government will merge PT Alumunium Development Corporation (Aldevco) into state-owned aluminum producer PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) as part of the preparation for the latter to be a leader of the holding company in the mining sector.

Government to revoke permits of delinquent miners The Jakarta Post 8th Mar 2017
The government warns that it will revoke operating permits of mining and coal companies with arrears in non-tax revenue (PNBP) payment as the amount remains large. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is ready to report the disobedient firms to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), which coordinates with the ministry to supervise companies with mining licenses that have problems of arrears to the state.

North Kalimantan to be developed as smelting center Antara News 8th Mar 2017
The Indonesian province of North Kalimantan will be developed into a smelting center, Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto stated here on Wednesday. "Mines may be in Papua, Maluku, or other eastern Indonesian regions, but the smelters will be built in North Kalimantan that enjoys a strategic location in terms of sea routes to other continents, such as Australia, Asia, Africa, and (North and South) America," he remarked after attending the North Kalimantan Investment Forum 2017.

Indonesia offers Saudi Arabia chance to invest in three more oil refineries The Jakarta Post 7th Mar 2017
Indonesia has offered Saudi Arabia the opportunity to invest in three more oil refineries — in Dumai, Riau; Balongan, West Java; and Bontang, East Kalimantan. Previously, state-owned energy company Pertamina and Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to establish a joint venture to develop an oil refinery in Cilacap, Central Java. “From the agreement, we will see investment worth US$6 billion [Rp 80.2 trillion],” Achmad Sigit Dwiwahjono, the Industry Ministry’s chemical industry and textiles director general, said in Jakarta as reported by on Tuesday.

Pertamina needs audit by independent team, says volunteer group The Jakarta Post 7th Mar 2017
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been advised to appoint an independent audit team to look into state-owned energy company Pertamina, following an internal rift that ended with the dismissal of its CEO and deputy CEO. A group of volunteers who supported Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election said the rift was continuing, following rumors of the dismissal of Pertamina’s vice president for corporate communications, Wianda Pusponegoro, on Monday.

Association: 26 Smelters Will Be Operational This Year Tempo 6th Mar 2017
Chairman of the Indonesian Nickel Miner Association (APNI) Ladjiman Damanik stated that there will be 26 fully operational nickel smelter by the end of this year. "Those are the ones that are in progress, it will be operational by the end of this year," Ladjiman stated on Monday, March 6, 2017. Ladjiman explained that there are currently six fully operational smelters that with a cumulative annual production capacity of 300 to 400 thousand tons. By the end of the year, all of the new smelters are predicted to have a total annual production capacity of 1 million ton.

French Renewable Energy Group set up in Indonesia The Jakarta Post 28th Feb 2017
French delegates established on Tuesday a new business group representing French companies that aim to tap into the huge potential in Indonesia’s renewable energy sector. The new group, named the French Renewable Energy Group (FREG), comprises companies that already operate or have interests in investing locally and a branch of France’s largest renewable energy organization, Syndicate for Renewable Energy (SER). French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault acknowledged Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to increase the use of renewable energy sources to make up 23 percent of all domestic energy needs by 2025, saying that France was willing to share its expertise with its counterparts.

Investors sought for green energy projects on Sumba Island The Jakarta Post 20th Feb 2017
The government has invited investors and financial firms to build power plants powered by renewable energy in trying to meet the 2020 electrification deadline on Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Energy sources for the power plants for the Sumba Iconic Island (SII) project include solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

Indonesia, Sweden to Cooperate on Wind-, Hydropower Projects Jakarta Globe 19th Feb 2017
Indonesia has agreed to cooperate with Sweden in developing renewable energy in the archipelago, Energy Minister Ignatius Jonan said on Friday (17/02). Jonan said the cooperation with Sweden would focus on the development of wind and hydropower potential in Indonesia.

Indonesia to strengthen commitments with Iran in energy sector Antara News 19th Feb 2017
Indonesia will strengthen its commitment to developing the energy sector with Iran, including investment in an oil field in that country, Deputy Minister of Energy Arcandra Tahar said here on Friday.

Jokowi digs in heels over 100% electrification deadline The Jakarta Post 15th Feb 2017
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo remains adamant on his plan to supply electricity to all parts of the country by the end of his term in 2019. “The instruction from the President is that we have to achieve an electrification ratio of 100 percent in 2019,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Wednesday.

House preparing bill on special energy holding company The Jakarta Post 13th Feb 2017
Gus Irawan Pasaribu, the chairman of House of Representatives Commission VII overseeing energy and mineral resources, has said the House is currently drafting a bill that will serve as the legal basis for a special energy holding company for state-owned enterprises in the energy sector. Gus said the holding company would coordinate at least four state-owned enterprises in the energy sector.

Indonesia Sets New Tax Rates for Mineral Exports Jakarta Globe 13th Feb 2017
Indonesia has set export taxes of up to 7.5 percent for semi-processed metals including lead, zinc, iron and copper concentrate, the finance ministry said on Monday (12/2), with rates depending on progress companies make in developing smelters. "The more advanced the physical development of processing facilities, the lower the export tax rate that will be applied," the ministry said in a statement.

Association doubts over gross-split sliding scale The Jakarta Post 13th Feb 2017
The Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) has expressed doubt over the government’s newly-launched gross-split sliding scale for the oil and gas upstream industry in its ability to apply to exploration industry contracts. The contractors for the exploration industry are apparently not interested in the new scheme, as there is uncertainty over whether it could actually benefit them, Sammy Hamzah, Apindo chairman for energy and mineral resources, said on Sunday.

World Bank gives Indonesia $55.25m to develop geothermal power The Jakarta Post 10th Feb 2017
The World Bank’s board of executive directors has approved $55.25 million in grants to support geothermal energy projects in Indonesia with the aim to facilitate investment in geothermal power generation. “Insufficient energy holds back Indonesia’s growth potential and limits the future opportunities of millions of Indonesians. These grants will help Indonesia develop its abundant geothermal power potential,” World Bank country director for Indonesia Rodrigo Chaves said in a statement.

Renewable energy development ruling is setback: Expert The Jakarta Post 10th Feb 2017
An energy expert has criticized the government for discouraging the development of renewable energy with the issuance of the latest regulation by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan. Yunus Daud of the University of Indonesia said Energy and Mineral Resources Ministerial Regulation (Permen) No 12/2017 on the utilization of renewable energy for electricity had discouraged investors from putting their money in the sector.

Risk of gas shortage haunts Indonesia The Jakarta Post 8th Feb 2017
The risk of a gas shortage is haunting Indonesia as demand continues to soar on the back of lower supply and poor infrastructure, with 2019 predicted to be the starting point of potential shortages. State-owned oil and gas giant Pertamina estimates that demand for gas in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will increase by 4 percent to 5 percent every year, mostly boosted by the power and industrial sectors.

Disruptions at Top Two Copper Mines Threaten Global Supply Jakarta Globe 8th Feb 2017
Disruptions at the world's two biggest copper mines by strikes and other issues this week are threatening to reduce global supplies of the metal, pushing benchmark prices back towards their highest levels for the year so far. BHP Billiton said it would halt output in Chile at its Escondida mine, the biggest copper producer, during a strike to begin on Thursday (8/2).

Power Producers Must Hand Over Their Plants to PLN at the Contract's End Jakarta Globe 7th Feb 2017
Starting this year, the government will require independent power producers to transfer new power plants to state power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara when their contracts expire, in a move to ensure state control over the critical sector.

Electricity Price Rule May Hamper Geothermal Exploration: INAGA Tempo 6th Feb 2017
The Indonesian Geothermal Association (INAGA) is disappointed with the Energy Ministry's regulation No.12/2017 on the use of new renewable energy for electricity. INAGA fears that the rule will hamper efforts to discover geothermal reserves. "The clauses are so biased, they could hamper geothermal exploration," INAGA chairman Abadi Purnomo said on Sunday, February 5.

Oil-Gas Revenue Down on Lack of Exploration Tempo 1st Feb 2017
Rionald Silaban, the Finance Ministry's macroeconomic and international finances expert, said the oil and gas sector is no longer a reliable source of state revenues. Its revenue contribution has declined significantly from Rp198 trillion in 2012 to just Rp78 trillion in 2015. Speaking at a discussion held by Tempo at the Aryaduta Hotel in Jakarta on Wednesday, January 31, Rionald said that the sector's contribution is down over the lack of exploration activities.

BKPM Introduces Rapid Licensing Services Tempo 30th Jan 2017
The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) recently launched a 3-Hours Rapid Licensing Services in relation to infrastructure development in the energy and mineral resources (ESDM) sector. The new rapid licensing service was officially launched by BKPM Chairman Thomas Trikasih lembong and ESDM Minster Ignasius Jonan.


Poyry named owner's engineer for Laos' 670-MW Nam Theun 1 hydropower plant Hydroworld 2nd Mar 2017
Consulting and engineering firm Poyry has been awarded a contract by the Phonesack Group to provide owner's engineering services for the 670-MW Nam Theun 1 hydroelectric plant in Laos. The plant will be located on the Nam Kading River about 33 km upstream from its confluence with the Mekhong River in Laos' Borikhamxai province. Finland-based Poyry has been involved with Nam Theun 1 since 1995 and has previously provided technical consultancy and engineering services, including a feasibility study, social and environmental impact assessments, designs and supervision for preliminary works. Poyry will also be tasked with performing environmental and social mitigation measures in addition to providing owner's engineer services. "Delivering clean, renewable energy projects like this can aid economic growth and social progress, and help alleviate poverty in developing countries," Poyry Energy Business Group president Richard Pinnock said. The value of the contract was not disclosed. reported in October that Andritz Hydro had been selected to provide three vertical Francis turbines and associated equipment for the project. Nam Theun 1 is the second in a string of projects that includes the previously constructed 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2.

Laos to press on with controversial $2.3bn Mekong dam Global Construction Review 27th Feb 2017
Determined to become the “Kuwait of hydropower in Southeast Asia”, the government of Laos will start work this year on the $2.3bn Pak Beng hydropower scheme on the Mekong River, despite opposition from environmental NGOs and local communities. The decision was announced at a meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) last week. Pham Tuan Phan, chief executive of the commission, said in his opening speech that the MRC cared about “voices and concerns of the stakeholder groups and interested parties for the well-being of the people living in the Mekong Basin”. However he added that the MRC was also “trying our best to support the Mekong countries in meeting the needs for country development”. The government of Laos made it clear that it intended to execute the 912MW scheme. Daovong Phonekeo, an official in Laos’ Ministry of Energy, told the VOA Khmer website that his government welcomed the comments, but said the issues raised had already been addressed. The Pak Beng hydropower scheme is the third of up to 11 dams that Laos is considering for the Mekong. Work has begun on two other projects, the $2bn 1.3GW Xayaburi, which is being built by Thai contractor CH Karnchang, and the 260MW Don Sahong, won by Malaysian firm Mega First Corporation. Both projects have sparked opposition from Cambodia and Vietnam, the countries downstream on the Mekong, as well as NGOs and community groups. The construction of the Pak Beng barrage is expected to be complete in 2023, with first power generated in 2024.

Laos Says Will Press Ahead With Controversial Dam After Regional Meeting VOA 24th Feb 2017
Laos has said it will proceed with plans for the controversial Pak Beng hydropower project following a meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) this week. The $2.3 billion project is the third such dam Laos is building on the Lower Mekong mainstream, much to the dismay of environmental groups and downstream communities who stand to be affected. The dam is expected to be approved and completed in 2024. It would follow two other mega-projects Laos has undertaken on the Mekong: the Don Sahong and Xayaburi dams, which have become major concerns for environmentalists. “We are trying our best to support the Mekong countries meeting the needs for country development but balancing interests and needs in ensuring the sustainable development and management of the Mekong basin,” Pham Tuan Phan, the CEO of the MRC, said in a statement. Daovong Phonekeo, the permanent secretary of Laos’ Ministry of Energy, told VOA Khmer that his government welcomed the comments, but said that the concerns had already been addressed. After the forum, Vietnam Rivers Network issued a statement saying that prior consultation processes should be re-evaluated to include overall impacts of large dam projects. It added that the prior consultation process for the Xayaburi and Don Sahong had concluded despite ongoing concerns from Vietnam and Cambodia. Prior to the meeting, Cambodian environmental groups asked the government to reject the project, alarmed by the potential impacts on fisheries and sediment flow in the Mekong. It is expected that 25 villages in Laos and two villages in Thailand will be directly affected by construction of the Pak Beng dam, with an estimated 6,700 people re-settled, according to International Rivers. Thailand has said it will conduct further studies of Pak Beng’s impacts.


Energy Commission of Malaysia eyes building large-scale solar PV plants Asian Power 13th Mar 2017
These will be located in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah. As part of a wider strategy to strengthen Malaysia's electricity generation from renewable energy sources, the Energy Commission of Malaysia (EC) intends to build large scale solar photovoltaic plants in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah/Labuan.  The EC said in a release that the plants will be connected to the grid and will sell energy to Tenaga Nasional Berhad or Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd under the Solar Power Purchase Agreements. The EC has announced the second competitive bidding process to select developers/developer consortia with previous experience in implementing power or related projects (including project financing and operation of power plants or electrical installation) to participate in the bidding process for the development of the large scale solar photovoltaic plants. The capacity of plants to be tendered will be from 1 to 30MW, with a target aggregate capacity of 360MW in Peninsular Malaysia and 100MW in Sabah/Labuan, which is expected to be commissioned in 2019 – 2020. Foreign participation is capped at 49% which is consistent with recent Government policy.  

SUPP urges state govt to lower electricity tariff BorneoPost Online 10th Mar 2017
The state government should review existing electricity tariff following its takeover of the Bakun hydroelectric power dam (HEP). This suggestion came from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth Central publicity secretary Milton Foo who lauded the state government for taking over Bakun HEP from the federal government. “It is believed that the takeover would help to stimulate and promote Sarawak’s economic development in the forthcoming years. “The state government should review the existing electricity tariffs to a lower rate, even though Sarawak’s electricity is one of the cheapest in the region. “This is so that Sarawakians can enjoy cheaper energy, thus reducing the burden of the people,” he said in a press statement yesterday. Foo said Sarawakians should be given priority since Bakun HEP “is able to produce ample energy.” On Wednesday, Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government had reached an agreement to acquire the entire equity interest of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd (SHSB), the owner and operator of Bakun HEP from the federal government. He added that the state government’s wholly owned company Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) would price the acquisition at RM2.5 billion. However, he said SEB would take over the servicing of SHSB’s outstanding loan amounting to about RM6 billion.

Phase 1 of INIR report concludes Malaysia is ready for nuclear power, minister says Malay Mail Online 7th Mar 2017
The final report of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission Phase 1 will be tabled to the Cabinet by next week, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri. The three-phase assessment, initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), concluded that Malaysia is thoroughly prepared and has developed a considerable base of knowledge to make an informed decision about introducing nuclear power. The minister said Malaysia has 30 days to respond to the recommendation made by the report that evaluates interested newcomer countries’ status and state-of-readiness in developing nuclear power programme. “Any further action will depend on the approval of the government,” she told the media after the opening session of the 8th Annual Nuclear Power Asia Conference here today. The report also acknowledged that Malaysia has completed most of the studies required for Phase 1 and demonstrated a good level of understanding of the 19 nuclear infrastructure issues described in the IAEA milestone. INIR also made five recommendations and 10 suggestions to assist the national authorities in making further progress in infrastructure development. “The main recommendations in the report are on strengthening government commitment and enhancing public awareness to progress further towards making a knowledgeable decision,” Nancy said. INIR also recommended to further developing a legal and regulatory infrastructure, as well as plans for financing the nuclear power plant and establishing owner-operator. This, said Nancy, is also in line with the recommendation of the study conducted by the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corporation as the way forward for the nuclear power infrastructure development. The comprehensive regulatory and legal framework for nuclear power programme,taking into account lessons learned from Fukushima tragedy, are currently being put in place.

Malaysia's renewables capacity to balloon by 150% in the next decade Asian Power 6th Mar 2017
Malaysia will emerge as an outperformer in the Asian renewables industry, in terms of the market's attractiveness for investment. While the scale of Malaysia's renewables sector remains limited compared to regional counterparts, the country's supportive regulatory environment for renewables and stable economic and political environment translates into an attractive destination for renewables investment, according to BMI Research. Malaysia's renewables industry will become increasingly attractive for investors in the Asia region and we expect robust growth in non-hydro renewables capacity over BMI's 10-year forecast period to 2026. We forecast total non-hydro renewables capacity to expand by nearly 150% between 2016 and 2026, with growth mostly in the biomass and solar segments. While at a regional level, the size of the market remains limited compared to regional counterparts - notably India, China and Thailand - we expect the market to outperform in terms of its attractiveness to investors and balance between rewards on offer and risks to investment. We also note that Malaysia has a well-developed grid network with relatively low transmission and distribution losses (T&D) - which will support the integration of renewables projects, has good access to finance and a well-established domestic manufacturing base for solar components that will support the development of new projects.

‘Reducing carbon release: Malaysia on right track’ BorneoPost Online 3rd Mar 2017
Malaysia is on the right track towards achieving its target of reducing the intensity of carbon dioxide release from 45 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2030, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. He said the dissatisfaction over the government’s efforts to resolve the problem of climate change, as shown in a Merdeka Center survey, was due to a  misperception. He said the government had taken various proactive measures, including in the Green Technology Master Plan which focused on six key areas, namely energy, manufacturing, transportation, building, waste management and water management. “Malaysia contributes very minimal emission when compared to other nations like America and China. That is why Malaysia is considered one of the successful nations,” he said at a press conference held after a meeting of the Green Technology and Climate Change Council chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Perdana Putra Building here yesterday. On Wednesday, a local newspaper reported the findings of a Merdeka Center survey which showed that 81 per cent of Malaysians expressed worry about climate change after 2016 recorded the hottest year ever. The survey which was conducted in December 2016 also showed that almost 50 per cent of the respondents were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of climate change issues. — Bernama

Malaysia to implement Euro 4M specifications for 95 RON gasoline in Oct 2018 S&P Global Platts 1st Mar 2017
Malaysia has set a timeline of October 1, 2018 to implement Euro 4M gasoline specifications for the 95 RON grade in the country, according to a Malaysian government official. Malaysia implemented Euro 4M for 97 RON gasoline at retail stations in September 2015, but has yet to make the switch for 95 RON gasoline. The country plans to implement Euro 5-compliant fuels for 95 RON and 97 RON gasoline on September 1, 2025, and Euro 5 diesel on September 1, 2020, according to the country's clean fuels roadmap, said Datuk Shahrol Halmi, director of Oil, Gas & Energy at the Performance Management and Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister's Department. Oil companies are free to introduce Euro 4M and Euro 5 gasoline and diesel specifications earlier than the stipulated timeline, Halmi said. Euro 4M specifications for both gasoline and diesel limit sulfur to 50 ppm, down from a Malaysia's current standard of 500 ppm. For gasoline, the maximum benzene level will be lowered to 3.5% from the current 5%, while the maximum limit for Reid Vapor Pressure will be reduced to 65 kPa from the current 70 kPa. The Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project, or RAPID, which is scheduled for completion in 2019, will be central to Malaysia's move to cleaner fuels. The 300,000 b/d refinery was designed to produce 98,000 b/d gasoline, or a yield of about 33%, 88,000 b/d of gasoil, 28,000 b/d of Jet A1, and 5,000 b/d of fuel oil. The project has reached 54% mechanical completion, with commissioning expected in the second quarter of 2019 and commencement of commercial operations in the fourth quarter.

Saudi Aramco to invest $7 billion in Petronas' RAPID oil refinery Reuters UK 28th Feb 2017
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Monday that Saudi Arabia's state oil company Saudi Aramco will invest $7 billion (5.6 billion pounds) into an oil refinery and petrochemical project in Malaysia's southern state of Johor. Najib said the decision was made before noon on Monday after discussions between top executives from Saudi Aramco and Malaysia's state-owned energy company Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), the sponsor of the $27 billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project. Najib's statement marks a dramatic reversal in RAPID's fortunes after industry sources familiar with the matter said in January that Aramco planned to drop its participation in a partnership with Petronas in the project. At the time, Petronas said it would move ahead in spite of Aramco dropping out. Najib did not give any details on the change of heart. Petronas and Saudi Aramco executives are scheduled to sign the agreement on Tuesday. An industry source familiar with the matter says Aramco will buy a stake in RAPID's refinery, cracker and petrochemical operations. Aramco will also supply at least 50 percent of the crude that will be processed at RAPID, with an option to increase the supply, the source said. The RAPID project, located at Pengerang in Johor, is expected to begin operations in the first quarter of 2019. RAPID will contain a 300,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery and a petrochemical complex with a production capacity of 7.7 million metric tonnes. The complex will sit alongside an existing oil storage site at Pengerang.

Malaysia's gas projects to boost output to a peak of 70.6bcm by 2021 Asian Power 27th Feb 2017
BMI Research expects Malaysia's gas production will continue on an upward slope over the first half of 2016-2021 forecast period. This is thanks to several large fields which came online over the past years and that are continuing to ramp-up their production, in addition to several small-to-mid-scale projects set to come online in the coming years. Nearly all of the new gas projects are offshore Sarawak, East Malaysia, which will raise gas production and in turn feed Petronas' LNG complex in Bintulu. Amongst others, projects to come online in the coming years boosting Malaysian gas production include: Hess' North Malay Gas Project; Shell's E6 Field; Rotan field; SapuraKencana's SK310; Petronas' Kumang cluster development in Block SK306 is currently under way, in two phases. Together, the project will likely peak around 2020, production between 3-4bcm of gas. Petronas is also currently laying the groundwork for the development of the K5 sour gas project, and has started receiving submissions by foreign contractors regarding the engineering, procurement and construction of big mobile offshore production unit that it aims to use at K5. Phase one will see production of 2.6bcm, with production start-up in 2020. Taken together, these projects will maintain production over the coming years and even boost output from 64.4bcm in 2016 to a peak of 70.6bcm by 2021.

Petronas eyes divesting its 49% stake in offshore natural gas block Asian Power 23rd Feb 2017
Malaysia's state-owned Petronas is planning to divest up to a 49.0% stake in its SK316 natural gas block offshore Sarawak, in order to raise cash and reduce development cost amid sustained pressure on its operations from volatile global oil prices, according to BMI Research. The block on offer contains the producing NC-3 gas field, which supplies gas to MLNG-9, a newly commissioned ninth train at Petronas' giant LNG export complex in Bintulu (annual LNG export capacity of 19.0bcm). A joint-venture (JV) between Petronas and Japan's JX Nippon, MLNG-9 has an annual LNG export capacity of about 4.8bcm and is gearing up to begin commercial operations in Q117. Bulk of the funds generated from the stake sale will reportedly be used to support further development phases at the Kasawari field. Despite promising below-ground prospects, development has progressed slowly due to the field's deepwater, high-cost structure, and the relative inexperience of domestic engineering firms involving carbon dioxide removal. Potential integration of a foreign partner could dilute the project's cost burden. Any future gas output from Kasawari will likely be designated for exports, given Malaysia's comfortable surplus in gas.

Malaysia's gas production in danger of falling after 2021 Asian Power 23rd Feb 2017
Malaysian gas production is benefiting from a string of projects coming online over the 2017-2020 period, according to BMI Research. "We note significant upside risk by the end of our forecast period from several large-scale gas projects yet to reach FID. Malaysia has already seen several gas projects come online over the past years, boosting the country's gas production from about 60bcm around 2010 to an estimated 65bcm as of 2016," it said. Notable projects over the past years include the NC3 and NC8 Fields, the Telok field, the Bertam, Kanowit and Damar fields, in addition to several Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR)/upgrade work at older producing fields to stabilise or increase output, notably in the Baram Delta PSC held by Royal Dutch Shell and Petronas. We forecast this trend will continue over the coming years, with several small to mi-size projects set to come online within the coming years. This string of projects will boost Malaysia's gas production from an estimated 64.4bcm in 2016 to a peak of 70.6bcm in 2021. Post 2021, we expect production will resume to the downside as the low oil and gas prices dissuade new FIDs on large greenfield developments over the coming years. Production will fall from a forecasted peak of 70.6bcm in 2021 to 63.7bcm by the end of our forecast period in 2026. Nevertheless, we note upside risk to this forecast exists from several large-scale projects that could be sanctioned in the coming years should prices recover sufficiently to justify the significant investment required for these large projects. Unfavourable oil and gas prices will see operators delay large project FIDs and slow efforts to ramp up output to meet peak production in exchange for prolonging the life of these fields. We do not expect new output from these projects to make up for falling production in more mature fields over the second half of our forecast period.

Malaysia Plans US$1 Billion Sale Of Sarawak Gas Block Stake 20th Feb 2017
Malaysia’s Petronas plans to sell a minority stake in an upstream gas project for a $1 billion sum to raise capital and lower the government’s cost burden, according to two anonymous sources who spoke to Reuters. The stake – which could encompass up to 49 percent of the venture – would come from the SK316 offshore gas block in the island nation’s Sarawak state. A portion of the funds earned from the new sale could be set aside for the future of the Kasawari field, which government estimates say could hold three trillion cubic feet of recoverable hydrocarbons. The 2.5-year oil price slump has stymied gas profits, forcing Petronas to announce US$11.2 billion in cuts in capital expenditures over the next four years, and over 1,000 job cuts. The company’s dividend payouts have also been cut. In September, Reuters had reported that the firm – which accounts for a third of Malaysia’s oil and gas revenues – planned to sell a majority stake in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in Canada. Since then, Petronas has denied any such intentions. The anonymous sources who commented on the SK316 sale said the government had been considering offers from a range of bidders after the process began earlier in February. More than half of the $4 billion necessary to fully develop SK316 remains to be spent, Prasanth Kakaraparthi, an upstream research analyst for Wood Mackenzie, said. "Given that the second phase of development will involve a significant amount of capital commitment, it's not completely out of the question to think that they might want to bring in some partners to sort of share some of that burden," he added.

Green tech financing scheme to continue with RM5bil funding the star 2nd Mar 2017
PUTRAJAYA: The Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) will continue until 2022 with the Government approving a RM5bil allocation, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili.


Pa-O residents attack coal-fired station Eleven Myanmar 13th Mar 2017
Residents have complained about the coal-fuelled Tijit power plant in Pinlong Township, Pa-O self-administered zone in southern Shan State. They called for environmental and social impact assessments of the station. The Wuxi Hua Guang Electric Power Engineering Company signed a 22-year contract with the Electric Power Enterprise under the Ministry of Electricity and Energy and has operated a coal mine and the power plant in Tijit Township for over a decade. The residents said the operation had negatively affected them and the environment. “We want the water in the area tested first. The water flows all the way to Inle Lake. We have lost plenty of fish. Then test the air and the earth. The soil has been tainted. Everything needs to be tested,” said Chit Wai of Tijit. The river in Tijit is reportedly contaminated with the waste from the coal mine. The water resources have also apparently dried up. Another resident Khun Win Htein said: “We have difficulties ploughing the fields. Before the coal mine, farming was easy. Now the underground water has entered the mines and the surrounding area becomes dry. The water tells blue. It hardens the soil and kills the crops. People develop itches. We want the company to do business transparently.” The business has been suspended for assessments. State newspapers reported that the company had hired staff and run assessments since September.

Yangon braced for hot-season power cuts Eleven Myanmar 13th Mar 2017
Nilar Kyaw, Yangon Region's minister of electricity, industry, roads and communications, says the city is expected to suffer regular blackouts during the hot season. Some townships in Yangon are reporting regular power outages. “In Thingangyun Township, there was a power outage last night. It lasted about one hour,” said a resident. Kyaw Win, union minister of planning and finance, told the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry that electricity demand would peak during the hot season. Yangon’s chief minister Phyo Min Thein recently said there were many foreign and domestic investors interested in the electricity market but they were put off by the subsidised prices. Nilar Kyaw said: "Subsidies mean returns from the electricity supply do not cover the production costs. The government had to spend Ks470 billion for electricity supplies and production costs. Economic development is difficult without electricity. But under these circumstances, the more electricity we produce, the more we will be loss-making." She added that the government was expected to make an estimated loss of Ks900 billion if it met the region’s electricity demand in 2017-18. Yangon Region used 1,250 megawatts of power last fiscal year, according to Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation. The region accounts for up to 50 per cent of the country’s power consumption. The ownership ratio between the government and the private sector in the electricity sector was 51:49, Dr Tun Naing, deputy minister for electricity and energy, recently told a forum in Yangon.

Electric planners rely on increased coal output Eleven Myanmar 10th Mar 2017
Myanmar is generating electricity mostly from hydropower and it is planning to generate more power from coal by 2030, according to Ministry of Electric Power and Energy. Myanmar currently generates 61 per cent (3,185 megawatts) of its electricity from hydropower, 35 per cent (1,829 megawatts) from gas turbines and 2 per cent (120 megawatts) from coal. By 2020, the ministry plans to generate 4,720 megawatts from hydropower, 1,970 megawatts from natural gas and 1,920 megawatts from coal. By 2030, the ministry plans to generate 8,900 megawatts from hydropower, 4,700 megawatts from natural gas and 7,940 megawatts from coal, according to a research paper by Aung Than Oo, a retired deputy minister. According to the National Electrification Project, 50 per cent of households should have electricity by 2020, 75 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030. Around 51 per cent of electricity was generated by state-owned power plants, said Dr Tun Naing, deputy minister for electric power and energy. Myanmar used 6.5 billion units of electricity in 2010-11 and by 2015-16 it was 13.6 billion, he said. Electricity consumption is expected to increase by 16 per cent annually. 

LNG fills energy supply gap Myanmar Times 9th Mar 2017
Despite the eventual decline of three offshore gas projects, attempts are being made to supply 480 million cubic feet per day in summer, according to managing director of Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise U Myo Myint Oo on March 3. “A plan has been arranged to amass up to 430 million cubic feet from offshore oil. Combined with 50 million cubic feet from onshore [oil], the maximum gas supply in this summer will be about 480 million cubic feet [per day],” he said at the electricity and energy sector development forum held at Republic of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries (UMFCCI) office. There are four offshore gas projects: Yadana, Yetagun, Shwe and Zawtika gas projects. Out of the four, Yetagun gas project has no domestic supply and the rest have a pipeline connection as well as domestic gas supply. Onshore oil and gas fields are producing and supplying 50 million cubic feet of gas per day, and three offshore gas projects are currently supplying about 400 million cubic feet per day. Production line, which began in 1998, has led to a natural decline in some gas reservoirs. Yadana’s gas project in 1998, which saw a boost in production, will face a natural decline in 2021. Zawtika’s natural decline is predicted to be in 2023 and Shwe project’s to be in 2027-2028, said U Myo Myint Oo. “There will be a supply gap for a certain period because those three gas projects are declining and natural gas demand is increasing due to electricity and industry sectors,” the managing director explained. Therefore, Ministry of Electricity and Energy has formed a central committee to explore an alternative – to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) with financial assistance from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Initial processes, including tendering for the LNG supply, will start in 2017, he added.

Hydropower projects generate more than 1,800MW | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 6th Mar 2017
Hydropower projects with an installed capacity of 5,200 megawatt are currently generating more than 1,800 megawatts, despite not being finished, said Aung Than Oo, former deputy minister for electricity and energy. “There are 54 power plants with an installed capacity of 5,235 MW, 22 gas turbine plants with 1,900 MW and 27 hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 3,000 MW,” he said. “We need to be aware of the fact that the projects are facing a delay as the government is unable to provide the necessary funds. The Ministry of Planning and Finance said it cannot allocate the budgets for the projects as the Ministry of Electricity and Energy faces a loss. The main cause of the loss is the ministry itself.” In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, total power consumption is expected to reach more than 19,593 units. Last year, the total power consumption amounted to 17,812 units. Dr Tun Naing, Deputy Minister for the Electricity and Energy said at the Union parliament that the ministry suffered a Ks 23.1 loss for every unit sold. This year, more losses have been budgeted compared to the expenditures last year. However, the country is seeing a year-on-year increase in power consumption. Nilar Kyaw, Yangon Region Minister for Electricity, Industry and Transport said the electricity sector suffers a loss of over Ks 470 billion every year. Despite this, about 6.5 million out of more than 10 million households have no access to electricity. It is estimated that the country will lose Ks 900 billion if it generates electricity to meet the power demand of an additional 3.5 million people.

BD, Myanmar, India considering pipeline connecting the three nations  The Financial Express Online Version 6th Mar 2017
ndia, Bangladesh and Myanmar are now reconsidering a pipeline plan connecting the three nations. Top officials of India said initially the pipeline would link Sitwe in Myanmar’s Arakan to Mizoram and Tripura in Northeast India and Chittagong in Bangladesh. The pipeline would extend to West Bengal on the Indian mainland and Assam and other Northeastern states on the eastern side, reports The Telegraph India on Monday.  Some 7,000 kms of pipeline would be required for the gas grid which could be used by all the three countries. Myanmar and Assam and Tripura in Northeast India would be pumping gas into the grid for sale and supply to mainland India and Bangladesh. The pipeline project was planned during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina two years back. India had proposed a cross-country gas pipeline in the first half of the last decade to evacuate gas pumped out from offshore fields in Myanmar awarded to Indian companies. The then government in Dhaka under Khaleda Zia did not agree to the proposal. In 2010, the pipeline proposal had cropped up once again, but by then Myanmar was disinterested as a rival facility was already carrying gas from Myanmar through the Shan and Chin states into China. The 2,338km Myanmar-Yunan pipeline will supply some 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas over a 30-year-period to China. However new offshore discoveries and Myanmar’s desire to have alternate markets which could balance China have helped to revive plans. Myanmar is estimated to have some 90 cubic feet of gas reserves. 

Rising demand set to trouble fuel subsidies Eleven Myanmar 2nd Mar 2017
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy loses Ks23.1 for every power unit sold, Deputy Minister Dr Tun Naing told Parliament. The deputy minister was detailing the principles and concepts of the National Planning Bill for next financial year. The ministry has calculated more budgeted expenditure this year as the country sees a year-on-year increase in power consumption. Last year, power consumption amounted to 17,812 million units. The total power consumption is expected to reach up to 19,593 million units in 2017-18. “To satisfy increased power demand, the ministry has budgeted increased expenditure for the purchase of power from gas-fired power plants in Myingyan and Mawlamyine. For that, the ministry has increased its budgeted expenditures to Ks22.6 billion and reduced its management costs to Ks2.18 billion. The main cause of the loss is higher production costs. The average production cost per unit is Ks77.25 while the selling price is Ks54.15. More losses are budgeted this year as the ministry sells more power,” he added. Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise has budgeted for reduced revenues due to a decline in gas production at its Yetagun project, a drop in natural gas prices, the lack of the new contracts for off-shore oil blocks, production-sharing ratio and the weak kyat.

More than USD40 billion needed for electricity countrywide Eleven Myanmar 11th Feb 2017
Myanmar will need more than US$40 billion to generate enough electricity for the whole country by 2030, the Electricity and Energy Ministry has said. The ministry said $5.8 billion was currently being spent on power distribution. But more money would be needed to generate more power supply. The government aims to generate electricity for the whole country by 2030, so it is undertaking work to generate and supply power to rural areas under the National Power Supplying Project. But power consumption has also increased, given the rapid industrialisation currently occurring. Over 14 million of units of power were used in 2016, the ministry said. At the end of last year, some 4.03 million households out of more than 10 million had access to electricity. The government currently plans to boost the power supplied to rural areas by spending a $30-million from the World Bank. Work on that project is due to be completed next year. In rural areas, connection of power lines will be funded by a rural or regional fund.

China's Myanmar Dam Hypocrisy The Diplomat 28th Jan 2017
China’s recent decision to exclude the Nu River in China (also known as the Upper Salween) from their dam-building program highlights Beijing’s contradictory support for dam projects downstream in the ethnic states of Myanmar. Dr. Yu Xiaogang, a key figure in the campaign to stop dams on the Nu and founder of the Green Watershed NGO, told The Diplomat, “This is the first time that the government‘s Five Year National Energy Plan has excluded all 13 dam projects on the Nu River.” (Called the Nu River in China, the same body of water is known as the Salween in Thailand, and the Thanlwin in parts of Myanmar). The Chinese decision confirms the victory of communities, environmental groups, and scientists who have campaigned for more than a decade to keep the Nu flowing free.


Villar urges dev’t of downstream mining industry 14th Mar 2017
Despite the continued crackdown on the mining sector, the country should still develop new domestic mineral processing plants, Sen. Cynthia Villar said. “Mining is an industry that we have to develop provided that they follow responsible mining,” Villar told reporters. Shifting from export to processing is the government’s long-term goal to boost employment and significantly improve the mining industry’s contribution to the economy. The Philippines is currently just exporting raw materials as the industry has yet to be developed. However, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s move to close down 23 operations, suspend five others and cancel 75 contracts is scaring industry stakeholders. “It’s very controversial but I don’t think they will stop mining. We just have to follow the law with regard to these industries,” Villar said. The downstream plan is similar to that of the Indonesian government’s, which requires companies to build domestic processing facilities. For its part, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) expressed confidence the results of the review being conducted by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) would counter the audit findings of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Philippines' Duterte wants mining ban, links miners to destabilization plot Reuters 13th Mar 2017
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused some miners of funding efforts to destabilize his government as he talked about a possible plan to impose a ban on mining given the environmental damage producers have caused. Duterte, who has said the Southeast Asian nation can survive without mining, has backed a crackdown on miners by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez in the world's top supplier of nickel ore. Duterte said he was looking at a total mining ban "and then we'll talk", referring to miners. "I know that some of you are giving funding to the other side to destabilize me," he said, referring to companies in the mining sector he did not name. He did not say how his government was being destabilized, only that there could be efforts to make him "unpopular". The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, which groups many large-scale miners, said in a statement it was "unaware of any mining company that is supportive of any destabilization efforts against the administration". Duterte has supported Lopez's Feb. 2 order to shut 23 of the country's 41 mines to protect watersheds. She suspended another five for environmental infringements and also canceled 75 contracts for undeveloped mines. The mining sector contributes an estimated 70 billion Philippine pesos ($1.39 billion) a year in revenue. Miners have complained about Lopez's mine closure orders, saying they were baseless, did not follow due process and would affect 1.2 million people who depend on mining for their livelihood. Lopez defended her decisions in Congress last week where lawmakers held a two-day hearing on her appointment. She said her orders were above board and were made to protect functions of watersheds. Lawmakers will meet on Tuesday before they vote on whether to confirm or reject her appointment in June last year when Duterte took office. In the Philippines, confirmation hearings can take place long after ministers start work.

DoE wants fast track for P3.5-B power projects Business World 13th Mar 2017
The Department of Energy (DoE) is proposing a threshold of P3.5 billion for power generation ventures to be declared as projects of national significance, a status which frees them from tedious permitting and regulatory hurdles. However, the project cost will only be secondary to the department’s goals as laid down in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), the long-term industry blueprint annually updated by the DoE as called for under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA). “It’s the PEP and any of the following,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella in a recent interview, as he emphasized the plan’s precedence over the list of qualifications for a project to be declared of national significance. These qualifications are part of a proposed executive order drafted by the Energy department. Mr. Fuentebella said the order has been forwarded to the Office of the President and submitted to the Cabinet. “The PEP is the summary of all the plans that we have,” he said, adding the sub-plans covering power plant development, transmission, distribution, household and missionary electrification as well as plans in securing petroleum products, energy resource development and utilization. The DoE previously announced the other qualifications to include the projects’ contribution to the country’s economic development, consequential economic impacts and positive impact on the environment, which the DoE said should be “significant.” The others are the projects’ potential contribution to the country’s balance of payments, their complex technical processes and engineering designs, and significant infrastructure requirements.

PH, Japan to prioritize RE projects in Mindanao The Manila Times 9th Mar 2017
The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) have identified priority areas of collaboration in renewable energy in the southern Philippines. Among these projects are the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complexes, improvement of the disaster resiliency of power distribution networks, the promotion of geothermal and wind power, enhancement of electricity distribution in areas with low electrification rates, such as in the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) area. Japan is prepared to offer two-step loans for such projects while feasibility studies will be offered as grants. A two-step loan is one where funds pass through a commercial bank or other financial institution before being released to the end-beneficiaries. Technical experts will also be made available through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The rapid growth of the manufacturing, real estate, services, and agri-business sectors however, resulted to a surge in demand for electricity. Projected demand for 2016 was at least 500 MW. By 2020, there would be a need for another 500MW, and by 2030 an additional 1,600MW. The entry of more fossil-fuel based power plants, particularly coal, is projected to raise the cost of electricity in the island-region. Power generated From this source now accounts for 69 percent in Mindanao, with coal accounting for 40 percent. Shares of hydro, geothermal, solar and biomass accounted for just 31 percent of the total power generated. To promote the use of renewable energy and lower electricity rates, METI proposed the introduction of wind power plants in viable areas in North-Eastern Mindanao, particularly in the province of Surigao including the islands of Dinagat and Siargao. The METI is also proposing for the use of small-sized geothermal power plants in the range of 2-7MW as these can be built faster and at lower cost.

Philippine minister asks Duterte to halt second mine review she earlier supported Reuters 7th Mar 2017
The Philippine environment minister has asked President Rodrigo Duterte to halt a second review of 28 mines that she ordered closed or suspended, challenging its legality despite initially supporting it. The U-turn by Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez comes as she faces pressure to defend her decision to shut more than half the country's mines, a move that prompted an industry outcry and concerns about lost revenue. The government's Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), an inter-agency panel that includes the finance ministry, is conducting a review of the mines following criticism from miners that the original decision was baseless and lacked due process. "The MICC is not mandated to do a review of any mining operation. The only agency that can do a review of mining operations is DENR, and that's what we've done," Lopez told Reuters, referring to her environment agency. Duterte's spokesman, Ernesto Abella, declined to comment on Lopez's latest move, saying it was not discussed in a cabinet meeting. Duterte, who last year warned miners to abide by stricter environmental rules or close down, has so far backed Lopez, a committed environmentalist, in the increasingly contentious dispute. Lopez on Feb. 2 ordered the closure of 23 of 41 mines in the world's top nickel ore supplier and suspended five others to protect watersheds after a months-long review last year by the environment agency. Members of the MICC met a week later and agreed to a second review of the affected mines, issuing a joint resolution signed by Lopez and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who co-chair the mining council.

Philippines to get P75-B power plant investment from Japan Power Philippines 6th Mar 2017
JAPAN’S SEVEN MAJOR TRADING HOUSES IS LOOKING TO INVEST P198.5 BILLION INVESTMENT INTERESTS IN THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING A P75-BILLION COAL-FIRED POWER PLANT, THE DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (DTI) SAID. The Sogo Shosha group, comprised of senior executives from Toyota Tsusho, Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsui & Co. Ltd, Sojitz Corp., Sumitomo Group, Marubeni Corp., and Itochu Corp., expressed interest in the following industries: energy, railway and transportation, water management, and security. The trading houses met with trading secretary Ramon Lopez, and have already committed P20 billion. Other projects include capacity enhancements of Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 South extension, LRT-2 East extensions, and North-South Commuter Railway project, developments of the Davao, Cebu, and Clark transit systems, and the Philippine Coast Guard Multi Role response vessels. “We urge Japanese investors to take the chance to invest in the Philippines as it experiences its momentous economic takeoff in the region,” Lopez said. Lopez also secured a biomass fuel project in Mindanao and a 120-hectare ship reuse center in Negros Occidental with Tsuneushi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Investments will come until 2018 and is expected to generate P15.2 billion and 32,000 additional jobs in shipbuilding and the biofuel industry. Lopez was in Japan for an investment forum and the 35th Japan – Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee and Philippines – Japan Economic Cooperation Committee meetings.

Philippines looking at ban on ore exports in reform push, nickel jumps Reuters 3rd Mar 2017
The Philippines may consider banning exports of raw minerals to encourage domestic processing and boost the value of shipments, an environment official said on Friday, as the government looks to extract more from its mining sector after a crackdown. Nickel prices rose more than 1 percent on the potential for supply disruption from the world's top nickel ore exporter, but miners said following in the foosteps of neighbouring Indonesia wouldn't be viable without big governnment incentives. Previous governments in the Philippines have supported calls to spur domestic processing of raw minerals but earlier efforts in Congress to enact appropriate laws have failed to take off. "It's one of the things we're considering for any mine that we think should remain operating," Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna told reporters. Mining has come into sharp focus in the Philippines in recent months after the country's firebrand environment minister, Regina Lopez, ordered the closure of more than half of the country's mines to protect watersheds, prompting an industry backlash. Her decision is now being reviewed by the government's Mining Industry Coordinating Council amid concerns over its financial impact and criticism that due process was not followed. The Philippines took over as the world's top nickel ore exporter after Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed ore in 2014, aiming to spur development of higher value smelting industries. However, Indonesia relaxed its mining export rules in January, allowing exports of raw ore under certain conditions, after facing a hefty budget deficit and missing its 2016 revenue target by $17.6 billion. "It means that (Indonesia's) experiment has failed," Ronald Recidoro, lawyer from the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, told Reuters.

Philippines may consider ban on exports of unprocessed minerals The Business Times 3rd Mar 2017
The Philippines may consider banning exports of unprocessed minerals in an effort to promote value addition in the mining sector, a senior environment official said on Friday. "It is one of the options that has to be considered not only by the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) but by the entire government," DENR Undersecretary Maria Paz Luna told reporters. Ms Luna spoke after a meeting with other government officials tasked to conduct a second review of 28 mines ordered closed or suspended by the environment ministry.

Duterte signs Paris deal 1st Mar 2017
Despite his objections to some of its provisions, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the historic Paris climate deal calling for the reduction of carbon emissions that have been linked to natural disasters. Malacañang submitted the agreement to the Senate for ratification last February 28, documents furnished to the media showed on Wednesday. "After examining the text thereof, I find it advisable to accede to the Paris Agreement and seek the Senate's concurrence thereto," the president said in a letter to the Senate. The climate agreement has to be ratified by the Senate before it becomes binding. Climate change, which has been linked to natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, has been blamed on carbon emissions caused by human activities. In 2015, members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change including the Philippines crafted the Paris agreement, which aims to limit the increase in the global average temperature to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Leaders of the member countries have also vowed step up measures to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Developed countries are required to provide financial support to developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts. The deal also requires signatories to set carbon emission targets but is silent on what would happen to parties who would fail to meet them. While not a major emitter, the Philippines promised to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030.

BoI approves P1.2-b biomass power plant Manila Standard 28th Feb 2017
The Board of Investments approved the request of Satrap Power Corp. for fiscal incentives as a renewable energy developer for its P1.16-billion biomass energy project under the current Investment Priorities Plan. The power project involves the development, construction and operation of a combined 10-megawatt power facility in Barangay Nagpanaoan, Santa, Ilocos Sur. “This project boosts the Ilocos region as a hub for renewable power and complements the wind power plants already in the region,” Trade Undersecretary and BoI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said. “The addition of biomass projects will spur further development of renewable energy sources in the area as we continue our march towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels over time,” he said. Satrap will use municipal solid wastes and agricultural wastes as feedstock to generate 3 megawatts and 7 MW of power, respectively, through a supply agreement with several local government units in the province. Both plants are scheduled to be operational in April 2019 with an estimated 30 employees. Satrap has the option to sell the generated electricity to National Grid Corp. of the Philippines under the feed-in tariff system of the Renewable Energy Act. Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative Inc. is also being considered as another market. Industry data as of June 2016 showed the Philippines had a total installed power capacity of 20,055 MW with a dependable production of 17,925 MW and an available output 13,877 MW. Peak demand reached 13,197 MW. Newly-installed operational capacity stood at 1,271 MW, while committed projects expected to be operational by the end of 2016 topped 6,179 MW with an indicative capacities of up to 13,853 MW. Renewable energy constituted the largest share of the total installed power capacity in the country with a 34.3-percent share, followed by coal with 33.2 percent and natural gas at 14.3 percent.

Cusi wants to convert Malaya Thermal Power Plant into LNG plant 27th Feb 2017
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi wants to convert the 650-megawatt (MW) Malaya Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Rizal into a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility as part of plans to ensure the country with reliable power supply in the future. “Part of the condition is to convert it into LNG plant…so we won’t lose capacity of around 600 MW,” he said. The plant’s conversion would allow the country to have a cleaner, more efficient and more reliable power plant, the Energy chief said. “From diesel, which is an inefficient and expensive power source… what we want is the country will still have 600 MW when we convert it into cleaner power and which we can use as a baseload power. As it is, the plant runs on diesel oil, which is only for peaking,” Cusi said. However, converting the diesel power plant into an LNG plant should still be studied since the bidding process for the power facility has already started, he said. Currently, the Malaya TPP is among the state-owned power plants scheduled to be privatized by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) this year. PSALM, the entity created by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to privatize government-owned power assets, has set the auction on March 8. The asset will be sold on an “as is, where is” basis. Meanwhile, the Energy chief is also looking at rehabilitating the 982-megawatt Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric power plants (HEPP) in Mindanao before selling the facilities, especially with an oversupply scenario looming in the region by 2018. Earlier, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who chairs PSALM, said rehabilitating the Agus-Pulangi HEPP is the top priority before undertaking any privatization process for the facility.

Solar firm to debut battery storage 21st Feb 2017
Solar Philippines will showcase the country’s first solar farm equipped with batteries when it completes the first 50 megawatts (MW) of its largest solar project in Tarlac by mid-2017, its top official said yesterday. The company expects batteries to become a game changer in the solar market this year. “Tarlac Phase 1 of 50 MW will be completed by mid-2017 and the total 150 MW are targeted by end of the year,”  Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste said in a text message yesterday. He said solar-plus-storage projects are already cheaper than expensive diesel and natural gas. Solar Philippines announced yesterday it would integrate batteries into nearly all its upcoming solar farms, to supply reliable 24/7 power starting this year. It is in discussions with battery suppliers including US-based automotive and energy storage firm Tesla, which is doubling the world’s battery manufacturing capacity to accelerate cost decreases, and will soon complete the world’s largest solar-plus-storage project to supply evening power in Hawaii. Red tape remains a barrier to solar-plus-storage, the company said. The Confederation of Solar Developers of the Philippines (CSDP) noted that around 600 signatures are required for permits to develop a solar project resulting in a multi-year process. According to CSDP, this has discouraged investments in renewable energy.  Another barrier is the price of solar panels, which remains the largest cost item. Solar Philippines, however, said it would soon open the first locally-owned solar panel factory, in line with its goal to construct and develop solar farms in-house, to lower costs and bring greater competition into renewable energy.

National Transmission Corp. wants bigger role in energy planning Business World 20th Feb 2017
State-run National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) wants to have an active role in writing the country’s transmission development plan in a move that is expected to expand its role in preparing the broader and long-term Philippine Energy Plan, its president said. Melvin A. Matibag, TransCo president and chief executive officer, said he would be asking Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi for a department order that would include his office in the planning stage of the transmission plan. “I will be asking the secretary if he can issue a department order so that we will be included,” he said in a recent interview. “We want to be included in the planning stage, in the preparation,” he said, adding that in the past this was a role handled largely by privately owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which holds the congressional franchise to operate and maintain the country’s power grid. The transmission plan has become crucial in view of a government directive to hasten the interconnection of the Mindanao electricity to the Luzon and Visayas grids. NGCP earlier this month said it was targeting the link to happen by end-2020 and possibly cost around P52 billion. He said the department order he was seeking should give TransCo the power to recommend the plan before this is submitted for approval to the Department of Energy (DoE), which in turn endorses the document to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Grid Management Committee, Inc. (GMC).

Energy Department, PEZA ink deal on ecozones investment Power Philippines 20th Feb 2017
THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) AND THE PHILIPPINE ECONOMIC ZONE AUTHORITY (PEZA) HAVE SIGNED A DEAL TO ACCELERATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF REGIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES (ECOZONES) IN THE COUNTRY. “The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) is an initiative consistent with the long-term economic vision of President Rodrigo Duterte known as ‘Ambisyon 2040’ and complements his 10-point socio-economic agenda,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said. “With the MOU in place, the country can expect the flow of critical investment which in the long-run creates more job opportunities and spurs rural development,” he added. DOE will develop energy policies under the deal that will “facilitate the reduction of the cost of doing business in the country, including the ecozones.” The DOE chief added that energy efficiency programs – like the Energy Management Systems – will be given importance in helping the locator companies to become more efficient in using energy resources. “This will result in lower power costs to sustain the companies’ competitiveness, while also encouraging the establishment of more energy efficient ecozones in the country,” Cusi said. He also emphasized the importance of policies that would streamline the permitting processes for energy projects, to ensure stable and reliable supply of energy to drive the economic activities in the ecozones. According to the 2016 data of the International Energy Consultants (IEC), the Philippine electricity rate – specifically the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) – is the third highest in Asia, fourth in Asia Pacific and 16th worldwide.

Speaker Alvarez files bill scrapping ERC, proposes formation of Board of Energy Power Philippines 17th Feb 2017
SPEAKER PANTALEON ALVAREZ HAS FILED A HOUSE BILL THAT WILL ABOLISH THE ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION (ERC) FOLLOWING CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AND THE SUICIDE OF A DIRECTOR OVER ALLEGED COERCION TO APPROVE IRREGULAR CONTRACTS. “The suspicions raised against the integrity of the ERC, which is primarily entrusted with regulating the country’s electric industry and promoting competition in the market, cannot be ignored,” Alvarez said in House Bill no. 5020. Alvarez cited the suicide letters left by ERC Director Francisco Jose Villa Jr., which contain allegations on dubious deals and practices within the agency. Under the bill, the ERC will be replaced with the Board of Energy, which will be an attached agency of the Department of Energy. This means the DOE will control and supervise the board. “This will ensure that the newly created board shall be explicitly within the regulatory arm of the government and specifically, within the direct control and supervision of the President,” Alvarez said. The Board of Energy will be tasked to perform ERC’s roles. It will be composed of a chairperson and two members appointed by the President based on the recommendation of the Energy Secretary. To ensure no conflict of interest, the bill prohibits the chairperson and members of the board or any of their relatives within the fourth civil degree, consanguinity or affinity, legitimate or common law, from holding any interest whatsoever in any company or entity engaged in the energy business.

Palace gives suspended mining firms chance to explain 9th Feb 2017
Suspended mining firms would be given the opportunity to present their side and to dispute the audit findings of the environment department, Malacañang said yesterday. Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the evaluation of the environment and natural resources sector was discussed during the Cabinet meeting last Tuesday. “The President and his Cabinet collectively decided to observe due process with regard to the mining issue,” Abella said in a statement. “This means companies affected by mining closures for violations of environmental laws and regulations will be given the opportunity to respond to or dispute the audit, or make the necessary remedies to ensure compliance with government standards,” he added. Abella said the Department of Finance would have further discussions with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as concerned state agencies of the Minding Industry Coordinating Council. Early this month, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez ordered the closure of 23 metallic mines and suspended five others for serious environmental violations. The closure orders against the 23 mining firms were based on the final results and recommendations of the multi-sectoral audit teams formed to look into the compliance of mining operators with existing environmental laws and regulations.

ENVIRONMENTAL CLAMPDOWN: Govt to close half of mines Malaya Business Insight 3rd Feb 2017
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday said it has ordered the closure of 21 mines in the campaign to fight environmental degradation by the industry. The 21 mines represent half of the 41 mines audited last year. Of the 21 mines ordered closed, 15 were found to be operating inside functional watersheds. They were said to have polluted water systems and silted up rivers. The closure order appears to be counter to what the Mines and Geosciences Bureau had earlier recommended but DENR secretary Regina Lopez was adamant about the closure order. The closed mines represent 50 percent of the country’s total nickel production and about 10 percent of world supply. Lopez said operations of six other mines have been suspended including the country’s top gold mine operated by Australia’s Oceanagold Corp. Of the 41 mines, 13 passed while six are for suspension and one was deferred judgment. Lopez said she is not concerned about the money but that “the people should not suffer. “Why should they suffer, so that stock market goes up? What’s more important, stock market or wellbeing of our people?” raged Lopez in a briefing yesterday. “We will close down any kind of mining in functional watersheds,” Lopez said. Lopez said the erring mining firms may file their appeal but the final say will come from President Duterte. The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) said the DENR’s order did not observe due process.

Legal battle looms as gov’t shuts mines Business World 3rd Feb 2017
The government is shuttering more than half the country’s 41 metal mines and suspending operations of five others on environmental grounds, deepening a crisis miners have faced since the past administration and prompting the industry to gird for legal battle. Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez told reporters in a briefing yesterday at the headquarters in Quezon City of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that “15 of these mines are in watersheds.” “We have decided to close down every kind of mining operation in functional watersheds... [you] cannot and must not have any extractive industry in the watershed,” Ms. Lopez said. Stocks of most listed miners reeled from the news, dragging down the stock market that has already been reeling from uncertainty caused by US President Donald J. Trump’s protectionist moves. Ronald V. Recidoro, vice-president of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines’ Legal and Policy division, said that affected companies will “definitely” appeal against the decision. “Due processes must have been observed if you want to cancel. That’s what’s lacking here. I don’t know if she even relied on the audit review.” Ms. Lopez declined to provide details of the recommendations given to her by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-led technical review committee she formed in November to go over results of the wide-ranging audit that began in July last year.

P52B set for power grid link Malaya Business Insight 2nd Feb 2017
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) yesterday announced that it has found a viable route to interconnect the country’s three major grids and has budgeted P52 billion for the project. An interconnected grid will allow power sharing among the islands and provide customers a wider choice of electricity suppliers. The company expects to complete the interconnection by 2020. The timetable for the Visayas-Mindanao power grid interconnection will depend on the results of the feasibility study that it has commissioned to find routes. NGCP said in a hydrographic survey conducted from September to November 2016 , a route along the country’s western seaboard beginning in Cebu and ending in Dipolog was determined to be viable to finally connect the Mindanao grid. The said route will run a total of 306 kilometers (km) of cables; 112 km from the Visayas side, 92 km submerged underwater and 102 km from the Mindanao side. The power line that would connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids will have an initial capacity of 450 megawatts (MW) with a provision to go up to 900 MW. The existing Luzon and Visayas interconnection has a capacity of 440 MW.

NGCP study shows feasibility of VisMin grid interconnection BusinessMirror 1st Feb 2017
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) on Wednesday released the results of a study that will interconnect the Visayas and Mindanao grids. “The NGCP is pleased to report we already finished the hydrographic survey that will determine the route of the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project. With this development, we now have a clearer plan on the project’s implementation. Power-resource sharing between the country’s major islands will now become a reality,” the grid operator said. In an NGCP-commissioned hydrographic survey conducted from September to November 2016, a viable route along the country’s western seaboard—beginning in Cebu and terminating in Dipolog—was determined as viable for the implementation of the plans of interconnecting the Visayas and Mindanao grids. With the hydrographic survey result, the NGCP will now proceed with the preparation of a conceptual design, detailed cost estimate and update of system-simulation study using the Cebu-Dipolog route, in order to complete documents needed when it filed its application before the Energy Regulatory Commission in April this year. The project is envisioned to be finished by 2020, assuming all regulatory approvals are secured on time.

House panel moves to consolidate energy efficiency, conservation bills BusinessWorld 31st Jan 2017
The House committee on energy has formed a technical working group (TWG) tasked to consolidate five bills seeking to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation (EE&C) measures. Measures that will be consolidated are House Bills (HB) 182 and 1220 filed by Parañaque Rep. Eric L. Olivarez and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo V. Umali, HB 812, filed by Ako-Bicol Party-list Reps. Rodel M. Batocabe and Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr., HB 2388 filed by Batanes Rep. Henedina R. Abad and HB 1527 filed by House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “The TWG shall be chaired by Rep. Umali, co-chaired by the other authors Reps. Olivarez and Abad and the other authors of the measures will be members of the TWG,” said Energy Committee Chairman Rep. Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco (Marinduque) during the hearing. In his explanatory note, Mr. Umali said that it should be the goal of the government to “aggressively promote energy efficiency and conservation a way of life.” The House committee on energy during the 16th Congress, then chaired by Mr. Umali, approved an EE&C scheme in January 2016. The TWG will also consolidate two measures seeking to require the use of energy-efficient lighting products and a measure aiming to prohibit the manufacture, importation, sale and use of incandescent light bulbs

‘Mining law needs proper implementation, not repeal’ Philippine Daily Inquirer 30th Jan 2017
Repealing the Mining Act of 1995 would only encourage illegal mining activities that do not respect government regulations, according to an environment group. The Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST) warned against moves by Congress to repeal the Mining Act and replace it with proposed legislation collectively referred to as Alternative Mining Bills (AMBs). PBEST said the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives had started conducting technical working group meetings to deliberate on the AMBs. "The law has technically been just in operation for less than eight years, and a cycle in the mining industry spans more or less 20 years. There is no need to repeal the mining law. The real problem is implementation,” said Prof. Dindo Manhit, convenor of PBEST and president of Stratbase-Albert Del Rosario Institute. The Mining Act—or Republic Act No. 7942—faced constitutional challenges while Executive Order No. 79 in 2012 effectively stymied its implementation. Changing the rules in the middle of the game may just foster illegal mining activities that do not follow environmental regulations, Manhit said. He said while the goals set in amending the Mining Act or creating new mining regulations were in the best interest of the country, the proposed methods might not be the most effective. Some of the proposals include limiting the raw metals the country will produce to only serve the local market. PBEST said this would not jumpstart industrialization as envisioned but might even kill the mining industry.


Singapore at the front line of water innovation The Straits Times 12th Mar 2017
The so-called water industry is much more than about making money, because a clean and reliable water supply is vital not just to business but also mankind's survival. For this reason, Singapore is at the front line of water innovation, becoming a hub for mutually beneficial technology collaborations and exchanges as it shores up its own water security. "We're in that pivotal moment where we're building on data, robotics, smart manufacturing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage," Mr Subbu Kanakasabapathy, regional managing director for Asia Pacific at international environmental engineering company CH2M, tells Insight. "The entire industry is changing. There is a beautiful fusion of physical, digital and biological knowledge." Playing a key role in stimulating this exchange of ideas from multiple disciplines is the Singapore International Water Week, an annual convention started in 2008 where people and organisations from all over the world meet and share the latest ideas in water technology, management and education. At present, there are 180 water companies in Singapore, and national water agency PUB has collaborated with more than 170 businesses, academic institutions or government agencies in just about every region of the world. In terms of technology, Mr Kanakasabapathy says Singapore is moving towards a "water, energy and waste nexus" to increase water production while reducing energy consumption and waste generation.

U.S. crude oil sales to Asia quickly growing UPI 10th Mar 2017
The growing influence of U.S. crude oil exports to Asia was a topic at a recent oil conference in London. It had been 40 years since crude oil was exported from the United States to points outside North America. Export restrictions were repealed in 2015. Virtually no crude oil was sent to Asia in 2015, but between January and November 2016 the figure rose to 50,000 barrels per day, U.S. Energy Information Administration figures said. Exports to Singapore, China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea have already grown in 2017 as well. Demand for benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude oil is now about 14 percent of WTI's global volume of sales, and its crude oil futures are part of Asian investors' risk management tools. About 80 million barrels of WTI are currently traded, making it the most liquid major energy derivative traded during Asian working hours. Increasing efficiency in U.S. shale oil production has made it competitively priced in comparison to West African and Asian sweet crude oil, and U.S. exports are redrawing the world's energy map, CME Group reported Friday. Crude oil futures closed down on Thursday, with April contracts falling 1.00 to $49.28 per barrel, May contracts down 1.00 to $49.53, June contracts down 0.99 to $50.25 and July contracts down 0.98 to $50.59.

Clean tech investment firm Envirotek deploys tidal energy in Singapore Asian Power 10th Mar 2017
In mid-February, ENVIROTEK, together with an international team of experts, has successfully deployed a SCHOTTEL Instream Turbine (SIT) in the waters off the Sentosa Boardwalk in Singapore to showcase the viability of tidal energy in the region. ENVIROTEK, a Singapore -based clean-technology investment company, aspires to lead tidal in-stream energy projects in South East Asia. "This demonstration is about using appropriate technologies in suitable locations to address real energy needs of South East Asia. We are keen to develop projects that involve marine renewable energy -- a resource that is yet to be tapped effectively in the region." said Jefferson Cheng, Chairman and Founder of ENVIROTEK Pte Ltd. Floating integrated renewable energy platforms are envisioned for the usage of local stakeholders (e.g. island or coastal areas) helping them increase energy resilience, decrease fossil-fuel dependence, explore multiple applications, and showcase the viability of harnessing tidal in-stream energy (TISE) and its potential to supply clean, renewable, and safe electricity to island as well as coastal communities. Dr. Michael Lochinvar Sim Abundo , Managing Director of OceanPixel Pte Ltd noted that ocean renewable energy is currently not in the energy mix in South East Asia and remarked, "There is tremendous potential for harnessing ocean/marine renewable energy in the region especially for archipelagic countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. We are looking at marine renewable energy to be part of the energy mix -- not just in off-grid areas but eventually to feed into micro-grids and the main grid."

Industrial sector to face stricter energy laws The Straits Times 9th Mar 2017
Singapore will tackle climate change by targeting the biggest culprits - the industrial sector, responsible for 60 per cent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. From next year, the Energy Conservation Act will be enhanced and made more stringent, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday. The Act now requires large energy users to appoint an energy manager, routinely monitor and report energy use and annual emissions, as well as submit annual energy efficiency improvement plans to the National Environment Agency. After the laws are tightened, companies will have to ensure common industrial equipment and systems meet minimum energy performance standards, among others. During the debate on his ministry's budget, Mr Masagos said: "These practices are in line with that of leading jurisdictions and will help companies to adopt more efficient equipment, conserve energy and enjoy life cycle cost savings." Having a structured measurement, reporting and verification system will help pave the way for the carbon tax scheme the Government plans to impose from 2019. The scheme will tax power stations and other large emitters based on the amount of greenhouse gases they produce, likely in the range of $10 to $20 per tonne. Other changes to the Act require companies expanding their facilities to factor energy efficiency into their designs, as well as measure and report energy usage for key energy-consuming systems.

Singapore Proposes Carbon Tax | Center for Strategic and International Studies CSIS 8th Mar 2017
On February 20, Singapore released its 2017 budget, which included a proposed carbon tax to begin in 2019. The budget awaits approval from Singapore’s parliament and final assent from the president. The government will consult with stakeholders before specifying details about the tax, though the budget document suggested the tax would fall between S$10 and S$20 (US$7 and $14) per metric ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The budget document states that “the tax will generally be applied upstream, for example, on power stations and other large direct emitters, rather than electricity users.” Singapore would be the first country in Southeast Asia to levy a carbon tax. Elsewhere in the region, Japan has a national carbon tax, while Kazakhstan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Taiwan have emissions trading schemes. China has experimented with regional cap-and-trade programs and is expected to launch the world’s largest national carbon market later this year. The decision to levy a carbon tax is an important gesture signifying that Singapore is committed to addressing climate change, although the country is a marginal emitter of GHGs, accounting for barely more than 0.1 percent of total global emissions. By shouldering a price on carbon, Singapore can assume a leadership role in a region whose GHG emissions are expected to nearly double by 2040. Depending on how the carbon tax is implemented, however, Singapore’s refining, petrochemicals, and power sectors could be significantly affected as the city-state relies heavily on fossil fuels. Singapore is the world’s third-largest exporter of refined petroleum products and has a refining capacity of 1.51 million barrels per day (bpd). The petroleum refining and petrochemical industries account for approximately 40 percent of Singapore’s exports.

Enhancements to Energy Conservation Act to include better reporting of greenhouse gas emissions Channel NewsAsia 8th Mar 2017
Large industrial emitters in Singapore will need to improve how they measure and report greenhouse gas emissions, in order for them to better understand and manage emissions. These requirements will be set out in the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) which will be enhanced to help companies adopt more energy-efficient processes, announced Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 8). "To pave the way for a robust carbon tax regime, we need to have a sound measurement, reporting and verification system in place," he said in his ministry's Committee of Supply speech. It was announced during last month's Budget that the Government will introduce a carbon tax on large direct greenhouse gas emitters from 2019. Providing more details in a statement, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said large industrial facilities will need to submit a monitoring plan and, once approved by NEA, will have to submit an improved emissions report based on the plan. Mr Masagos added that companies looking to expand their facilities will have to factor energy efficiency into their designs from the start. They will also have to measure and report the performance of their key energy-consuming systems. Enhancements to the ECA will come into effect from 2018. As part of the Paris climate change agreement, Singapore pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. It also committed to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. Based on feedback that the Government needs to improve on its current schemes to help companies improve upon their energy efficiency, Mr Masagos said NEA will consolidate its existing incentive schemes into a single fund. He said the new Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) will be redesigned to better support companies to identify and undertake energy efficiency retrofitting.

Carbon tax expected to lead to higher electricity prices The Straits Times 25th Feb 2017
The carbon tax announced in Monday's Budget will push up costs for power generators and translate into higher electricity prices for consumers, companies and economists say. But some welcomed the move, saying it could spur the development of cleaner technologies. The tax will start from 2019, and be levied on greenhouse gas emissions at between $10 and $20 per tonne. It will be applied to power stations and other large direct emitters, rather than electricity users. Revenue from the carbon tax will help fund measures by industries to reduce emissions, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech. "The impact of the carbon tax on most businesses and households should be modest." But some cost increase is likely to be inevitable. Most electricity here is generated using natural gas, which already results in relatively less emissions than other sources like coal, said Mr James Allan, a director of consultancy Frontier Economics. Singapore's land scarcity also means power generators have limited scope to invest in zero-emission energy sources like wind or solar power, he noted. This means the carbon tax will push up costs for power generators, which will in turn pass these on to consumers. "Singapore enjoys a competitive wholesale electricity market. It is likely that the generators, facing similar increases in costs, would pass the carbon tax through to the market, retailers and ultimately consumers in the form of higher electricity prices," Mr Allan added.

Analysis: Singapore can't afford to let oil exports lose edge despite carbon tax S&P Global Platts 23rd Feb 2017
Singapore will need to strike the right balance in implementing a planned carbon tax from 2019 to ensure its refining industry remains competitive as the sector faces headwinds from volatile margins, growing exports from China and rising capacity in the region. Singapore Monday announced it will implement a carbon tax starting 2019. The tax, which will be Southeast Asia's first carbon tax, will likely cost between $10-$20 per mt of emissions. The tax is aimed at helping Singapore meet its commitment to cut emissions by 36% below 2005 levels by 2030 under the Paris Agreement. Analysts told S&P Global Platts Wednesday that the tax will raise the cost of operations and pose new challenges for the refining sector, but the way the tax is implemented will determine the final impact. Wood Mackenzie estimates that the increase in cost for the refining sector from this carbon tax regulation could be between 40 cents/b and 70 cents/b. "By 2019, we expect gross refinery margins to be $4-$5/b. So the profit margins could be impacted by 10-15%," said Sushant Gupta, research director for refining and chemicals at Wood Mackenzie.

Singapore a 'great location' for LNG trading The Straits Times 23rd Feb 2017
Singapore is an "obvious location" in Asia to trade financial products related to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, according to a top executive at energy giant Shell. Mr Steve Hill, the executive vice-president for gas and energy marketing and trading, told an LNG outlook briefing yesterday: "I think it's a great location both in terms of the trading community that's here, the regulatory environment that's here and all the support infrastructure." But the challenge now is for the industry to identify the "right product" to use, said Mr Hill, referring to financial instruments like futures contracts. He added: "You hear a lot of energy from certain Asian buyers about wanting an Asian LNG index, but you actually see very little activity from those same buyers on the markets that already exist today. "To sign term contracts (for LNG), the product has to be credible. And ideally you want it to represent real deals, and not just the views of the market. Some of the challenges we have today is that some of the indices are based on opinions and very few real deals." There have been several schemes promoted but none have really gained the credibility of players, he noted. But Mr Hill is confident about the global LNG market as a whole, which could see the industry take off in a bigger way here. Mr Hill noted that final investment decisions last year fell to its lowest in recent years, which means the LNG industry will need to make large investments to supply demand growth after 2020.

Singapore carbon tax set to squeeze oil groups Financial Times 21st Feb 2017
A carbon tax plan revealed this week by Singapore will cover refineries in the city-state, officials confirmed on Tuesday, adding to pressure on international oil groups in one of Asia’s biggest refining centres. The measure, which will be implemented from 2019 and apply to power stations and other large emitters, raises costs for an industry where margins have been squeezed by a surge in diesel and gasoline exports from China. Singapore lured western oil companies with tax incentives in the 1960s and is now home to some of the world’s biggest refineries, with total capacity of about 1.5m barrels of crude oil per day. Singapore’s carbon tax, announced by the finance minister in his budget speech this week, will be set between S$10 (US$7) and S$20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. Operating costs for Singapore refiners could rise by US$3.50-US$7 per barrel as a result of the tax, the government estimates. The proposed threshold for the Singapore tax is 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. There are up to 40 companies operating in Singapore that exceed this threshold, according to a government estimate. The proposed tax is the latest indication that countries in Asia, the world’s biggest oil market, are moving to curb greenhouse gas emissions. 

Singapore carbon tax would hit refiners, help renewables Reuters 21st Feb 2017
Singapore's proposed plan to tax greenhouse gas emissions would probably hit oil refiners hard, ramping up costs in an industry that has been central to the city-state's rapid development over the last half-century. Monday's announcement that a carbon tax on direct emitters is to be introduced from 2019 shows that Singapore, Asia's main oil trading hub, could be moving towards a longer-term future dominated by cleaner technology and resources. "It is the first time in the history of Singapore that a budget has placed such a high emphasis on green initiatives linked to tax revenues," said Isabella Loh, chairman of the Singapore Environment Council, an independent non-profit body. "The announcement clearly underpins the priority of a future-ready and greener economy." In parts of Europe and countries such as Australia, the introduction of carbon taxes or carbon trading schemes has often driven a decline in established refining industries and a parallel surge in investment in clean energy technology. "The proposed carbon tax on emitters would prove a significant drag on industry profit-margins," said Peter Lee, oil and gas analyst at BMI Research in Singapore. The government said the carbon tax would probably cover 30 to 40 "large direct emitters" including power stations, petrochemical facilities and semiconductor makers.

Singapore Plans Southeast Asia's First Carbon Tax From 2019 20th Feb 2017
Singapore plans to implement Southeast Asia’s first carbon tax starting in 2019, a move that would raise energy costs in the island nation and require more than 30 big polluters such as power plants to pay the levy. The proposal would charge between S$10 ($7) and S$20 a ton on emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a speech outlining the government’s 2017 budget. The tax is equivalent to a $3.50-to-$7-a-barrel increase in the cost of oil for combustion. It would raise electricity costs by 2 percent to 4 percent, according to a government report released after Heng’s speech. The revenue from the tax would help fund industry measures to reduce emissions, Heng said. The government also hopes the move will spur job creation in clean energy. Singapore would be the first Southeast Asian nation to put a price on carbon. Japan has a national carbon tax along with some regional emissions trading markets, and South Korea and New Zealand have national emissions trading. China has several regional trading markets and is planning to launch the world’s largest national carbon market this year. The biggest impacts would be felt on power generators and heavy industrial users, such as oil refineries, he said. Singapore uses natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel, for the vast majority of its power generation. The tax may spur some investment in renewable energy, although Singapore doesn’t have much land for such developments, and increased energy efficiency by end-users, Graham said. The government will have to work with industrial users to make sure the tax doesn’t raise the cost of business to a level that makes them unable to compete with similar firms in the region that don’t have to pay for emissions, Graham said. The tax will be applied on direct emissions of petroleum burned in refineries, but not on the crude oil being processed into gasoline and diesel and other fuels, Singapore’s National Climate Change Secretariat said in a statement.

Gas prices to go up from Feb for Singapore households Channel NewsAsia 31st Jan 2017
Gas tariffs for households will increase by 4.5 per cent or 0.76 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh) from Feb 1 to Apr 30, 2017, City Gas announced on Tuesday (Jan 31). This means the tariff will be 17.61 cents per kWh for the three-month period. The higher price is mainly due to a 20.8 per cent increase in fuel costs compared with the previous quarter. City Gas said it reviews the tariffs based on guidelines set by the Energy Market Authority, the gas industry regulator. 


Protests upend a coal-fired power plant in southern Thailand- Nikkei Asian Review 9th Mar 2017
Plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Thailand's southern Krabi Province have hit a snag, due to opposition from local fishermen and residents worried about pollution. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters at his office, Government House, on Feb. 28 that environmental- and health-impact assessments will be reviewed from scratch, citing the need to build trust between the government and people. The announcement will force the resource-poor country to rethink its energy strategy. As a state-owned enterprise, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, which has been pushing for the power plant, has no choice but to comply. Saharath Boonpotipukdee, deputy governor of EGAT, said reviewing the plan will take two and a half years or more, the English-language Bangkok Post reported. Prayuth, a former commander in chief of the army, decided to put the plan on hold in the face of opposition from nearby residents and nongovernmental organizations, who staged large protests near Government House in mid-February. More than 10 protesters were arrested by police.

Thailand inks deal with DNV GL to improve energy security Asian Power 9th Mar 2017
The partnership will explore new technologies in transmission systems. International certification body DNV GL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) at the EGAT Headquarters in Nonthaburi, Thailand. The MoU was signed by Mathias Steck, ‎Executive Vice President Asia Pacific, DNV GL – Energy and Suthon Boonprasong, Deputy Governor of Transmission Systems, EGAT. DNV GL will lend its expertise to EGAT as its a preferred technical advisor to harness quality, promote technology and give EGAT a competitive edge. The expertise will consist of exploring new technologies in transmission systems, smart asset management and disruptive technologies for the energy industry which will propel EGAT to a market leading position in the highly competitive Thai utilities sector and be one of the best in the region. The second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, Thailand faces electricity security challenges that will require sustained efforts to diversify the power sector’s fuel sources. Natural gas currently generates two-thirds of the country’s electricity, but domestic gas resources are set to begin depleting rapidly and almost all imports come from a single country, Myanmar, leaving Thailand vulnerable to supply disruptions.

OAG starts wind farm 'collusion' inquiry Bangkok Post 27th Feb 2017
The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) has started an investigation into whether there was a conflict of interest between the private sector and state authorities in the land lease project for wind farm projects. Auditor-General Pisit Leelavachiropas said Sunday that the agency has been examining whether there were "conflicts of interest" in allocating Sor Por Kor land to private firms operating wind farms, when it was specifically supposed to go to landless farmers. The agency is looking into the actions of former executives of the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro), which oversees the land allocation, and members of the government in power when the land lease was approved. State officials and policymakers connected to the land lease would be investigated to see if they committed negligence of duty or failed to protect the state's interests as well for any conflicts of interest, he said, insisting the act was a misuse of the Sor Por Kor land which was meant to be allotted to farmers for agricultural purposes only. The Sor Por Kor land lease to private firms was initiated in 2009.

PTT told to mull LNG terminal in South Bangkok Post 27th Feb 2017
PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, is considering building a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in a southern province at the request of the government, says executive vice-president Pitak Janyapong. "The idea to invest in this project has come after a government request for us to seek an alternative power supply for the southern provinces if the controversial coal-fired power plant project in Krabi is scrapped," said Mr Pitak. He said one option energy policymakers are considering is building a gas-fired power plant and PTT would be responsible for securing the natural gas supply to feed the plant. Two locations where the company is conducting a feasibility study are the Thepha and Chana districts in Songkhla province. Thepha may be the more viable choice for constructing a new LNG receiving terminal because it is closer to the Gulf of Thailand than Chana, meaning it would require less capital to invest in a new gas pipeline linking it to the gas fields, said Mr Pitak. The feasibility study is scheduled to be finished in May, when it will be sent to the government for consideration. "We are still studying the matter so we can't say how much we would need to invest or what the capacity should be. We don't even know if the coal-fired power plant project will be scrapped," he said. Over the past two weeks, a group of anti-coal protesters succeeded in pressuring the government to retract its decision to start the construction of the coal-fired power plant in Krabi. Instead the administration ordered the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) to redo an environmental and health impact assessment report. If the government decides to approve a new LNG terminal in the South, it would require extra capital investment as PTT has already set aside nearly 40 billion baht for expanding the LNG receiving terminal in Map Ta Phut to raise capacity to 11.5 million tonnes a year, up from 10 million. A second unit of the LNG receiving terminal in Nong Fab with a capacity of 7.5 million tonnes a year is also planned.

Thai oil-and-gas major PTT seeks new suppliers- Nikkei Asian Review 16th Feb 2017
Thailand's state-run oil and gas company PTT plans to massively expand its LNG import capacity and ramp up overseas development again, CEO Tevin Vongvanich told the Nikkei Asian Review, in search of alternatives to dwindling domestic resources. While work is ongoing to more than double the capacity of its only liquefied natural gas terminal, located in the cental province of Rayong, from 5 million tons to 11.5 million tons by mid-year, Tevin said that further expansion plans are already in the pipeline. A second terminal will be built nearby that can handle 7.5 million tons a year, bringing the total receiving capacity to 19 million tons, nearly four times the current capacity. The project has been approved by the government, and an environmental assessment is underway. "We aim to start construction in the next three years, which will take around four to five years, and bring it online in 2023 or 2024," Tevin said. PTT recently agreed on a 15-year contract to buy 1.2 million tons of LNG annually from Malaysia's Petronas, alongside existing deals with Qatargas, Royal Dutch Shell and BP. It is looking for long-term suppliers in Australia, North America and Africa as well. The company also plans to step up spot procurement, which accounts for a third of its imports. Tevin aims to use all 19 million tons of PTT's planned capacity by 2030. The state-run enterprise is the sole LNG importer in Thailand, Southeast Asia's largest buyer of the fuel. The country boosted LNG imports by 50% last year to 3 million tons to substitute for domestic production -- its proven natural gas reserves are on course to run out in seven years at current output levels. Tevin's 2030 target of 19 million tons is a quarter of what Japan, the world's top LNG buyer, currently imports annually.

Krabi coal plant to start anew Bangkok Post 1st Mar 2017
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted that new environmental and health impact assessments are needed for the Krabi coal-fired power plant project and the public must be allowed to have their say. Speaking after Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Gen Prayut stressed the need to restart the environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the controversial power plant project from the beginning. He added that all sectors must be allowed to take part in the processes with forums to be opened to listen to the public's views on energy issues.


Companies to invest $3.3 billion in solar projects in Vietnam's Daklak province 12th Mar 2017
Vietnam's Daklak province on Saturday granted licences and signed memorandums of understanding for the development of several solar power projects worth a combined $3.3 billion. Vietnam has been mostly reliant on coal-fired and hydro power plants to accommodate its annual electricity demand growth of around 11 percent, but wants to boost its renewable energy output amid rising resources scarcity and environmental issues. U.S. group AES Corporation signed an memorandum of understanding with the province to invest $750 million in a solar plant with expected capacity of 300-500 megawatts. Vietnamese private firm Xuan Thien Daklak on Saturday received a provincial government licence to invest $2.2 billion in a 2,000-megawatt solar power project in Daklak province in the Central Highlands. South Korea's Solar Park Global also received a certificate to invest $45 million in a solar power project and Vietnamese Long Thanh Infrastructure Development and Investment Company will invest $308 million in a 250-megawatt solar plant. Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are seeking to secure sources of solar energy and have introduced targets to fire up green energy generation as global agreements to curb pollution take effect.

The Blue Circle gets wind energy underway in Vietnam Eco-Business 10th Mar 2017
Southeast Asia’s leading wind energy developer The Blue Circle has started construction of its Dam Nai project in Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam. Since being awarded an Investment Certificate for 40 Megawatt in July 2016, The Blue Circle and its Vietnamese Partner TSV have worked on the land compensation process and the engineering of the site. The project sits along the Highway One and consists of 933 hectares of agricultural land where a 100 metre meteorological mast had been erected by The Blue Circle in May 2015. The site has one of the best wind resources of South Vietnam and has the potential for a total capacity installed of 70 to 100MW. After an extensive selection process, The Blue Circle has chosen Gamesa as the exclusive supplier for its Dam Nai 40 Megawatt project. The G114-2.625 MW turbine will be the first Gamesa turbine supplied to Vietnam and the largest wind turbine installed in the country so far. The turbine supply contract as well as a 10 year maintenance contract has been signed with Gamesa Wind and the first turbines are expected to arrive this summer on site. The project construction will take place in phases during 2017 and 2018 for a total budget of US$ 58 million. Building on a relationship initiated in 2014, The Blue Circle received financial support from Armstrong Asset Management’s Clean Energy Fund for the Dam Nai project. “The Vietnam wind energy target of 4,000 MW installed by 2025 is ambitious but with long term financing it can be turned into reality” stated Olivier Duguet, Chief Executive Officer of The Blue Circle. “Thanks to our shareholder Armstrong Asset Management’s investment, we are building the first foreign owned wind project in Vietnam and intend to fully participate in the future growth of what could become the largest market for wind power in Southeast Asia” he added. The Blue Circle has a total portfolio of 1,658 MW of projects under development in 5 countries with offices in Singapore, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. Dam Nai will become its first operating project.

Vietnam's Only Crude Exporter Attracts Oil Majors for Stake Sale 8th Mar 2017
PetroVietnam Oil Corp., Vietnam’s sole crude exporter, said it’s in talks to sell as much as 40 percent to strategic investors and expects to narrow down to a list of about five potential bidders for the government this month. PV Oil, as it’s commonly known, expects to raise at least $270 million from one or two investors from the stake sale, President and Chief Executive Officer Cao Hoai Duong said at the company’s Ho Chi Minh City headquarters. About 10 potential strategic investors, including “major oil companies” from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East, have applied to buy the shares, he said. PV Oil will also offer as much as 15 percent of its shares in an initial public offering in the first half this year, the CEO said, adding that the stake sale to strategic investors will occur simultaneously with or after the IPO. The company will list shares at an undetermined time on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange after the IPO, he said. "We are looking for good strategic partners so we can make another M&A success," Duong said in an interview on Tuesday, referring to past acquisitions to expand its retail network. The sale of shares will inject private investment in the state-controlled petroleum industry and accelerate government plans to open up the oil and gas sector, a market that’s worth $5.9 billion, according to My Truong, Hanoi-based research manager at Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corp. “PV Oil’s IPO is considered the most attractive one in 2017,” My said. “Almost all financial investors, both institutions and individuals, are looking forward to have a piece of the cake.”

Clean coal tech the best option 6th Mar 2017
Trương Duy Nghĩa, Chairman of the Việt Nam Thermal Science and Technology Association, tells Kinh tế Việt Nam & Thế giới (Việt Nam & World Economy) that coal will continue to be main source of electricity for Viet Nam in the coming years. What is the role of thermal power in the world, in general, and Việt Nam, in particular? I would say that thermal power remains the key source of power in the world today. According to latest reports, thermal power accounts for about 41.2 per cent of the world’s electricity production, followed by gas (21.9 per cent), hydropower and nuclear power. Australia ranks first thermal power production with 68.6 per cent, followed by India with 67.9 per cent and South Korea with 43.2 per cent. In our country too, thermal plants have played a very important role in electricity generation. In 2015, thermal power accounted for about 30 per cent of electricity production in the country. This will increase to 49.3 per cent by 2020, 55 per cent by 2025, and 53 per cent by 2030, according to the national power plan, One of the key factors behind the high percentage of thermal power is that Việt Nam’s organic coal deposits are sufficient for 300-400 years to come. Then, the price of coal is very cheap. This is the key reason that many countries, particularly South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, have already switched to thermal power as their hydropower capacity runs out.

US firm eyes investment in renewable energy Vietnam Construction 24th Feb 2017
United States’ ACO Investment Group has expressed interest in implementing renewable energy projects in Viet Nam’s southern province of Binh Duong. This was revealed by chairman and CEO of the group Hari Achuthan at a working session with local authorities on February 22. He noted that the company was devising projects for two renewable energy plants in the country, including the first solar power factory in Phuoc Dinh Commune (Thuan Nam District) and Vinh Hai Commune (Ninh Hai District) in the south central province of Ninh Thuan. The construction of the plant, which is designed with capacity of 100 MW and total investment of US$150 million, will begin in the third quarter of 2017. The plant will be put into operation in July 2018. The US group hopes to cooperate with Binh Duong to build a solar lighting system instead of the current high-pressure lamps. Tran Thanh Liem, vice chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, welcomed the American firm’s plans to invest in renewable energy projects. “With over 10,000ha of industrial land, Binh Duong is a suitable location to build a solar power plant,” he said. Along with Ha Noi, HCM City and Dong Nai, Binh Duong has high consumption of over one billion kWh of electricity per year. The power demand for production is always high, estimated at 12 per cent per annum, he noted. Binh Duong is also one of the five leading cities and provinces nationwide in drawing foreign direct investment (FDI), with over 2,800 FDI projects worth $25.5 billion. In 2016, the locality attracted more than $2 billion in FDI, including over $1.3 billion from 240 newly-licensed projects and $675 million through an increase in capital from 123 existing projects.

Vietnam wants to develop high-tech wind power plants Vietnamnet Bridge 23rd Feb 2017
Fifty wind power projects have been registered in Vietnam so far, but only four of them, with the total capacity of 159.2 MW, have been put into commercial operation. According to the World Bank, Vietnam has the greatest potential in the region in developing wind power. Vietnam’s wind power reserves are estimated at 513.360 MW, or six times higher than the total electricity capacity by 2020. The bank’s research found that 8.6 percent of Vietnam’s mainland area has great potential, favorable for the installation of large-scale turbines. To date, GE has installed 30,000 wind turbines with total capacity of 50 GW in 35 countries. In Vietnam, it has a turbine factory in Normura industrial zone in Hai Phong City. Besides 60Hz wind power generators and equipment for export to North America, the factory also makes 50Hz generators for Vietnam. Experts said Vietnam now has big opportunities to speed up the program on wind power development with GE renewable energy technology under the MOU between GE and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) signed during US President Obama’s visit to Vietnam. GE and MOIT decided that at least 1,000 MW of wind power would be provided by 2025, enough for 1.8 million people. A part of the MOU has been realized by the signing of a cooperation agreement between GE and Mainstream Renewable Power on the implementation of some wind power plants in Vietnam. In mid-November 2016, GE, Mainstream Renewable Power and Phu Cuong Group signed a cooperation agreement on the building and operation of the 800MW Phu Cuong project in Soc Trang province.

Vietnam’s plan to develop 800 MW wind power delayed Vietnamnet Bridge 22nd Feb 2017
The target of developing 800 MW wind power by 2020 may be unattainable as the plan to adjust the wind power purchasing price has been delayed. MOIT in November 2016 announced that the ministry submitted to the government a plan to raise the wind power prices which Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) would buy from electricity generators, and that the plan would be approved by the end of 2016 or early 2017 at the latest. However, in the latest news, the new wind power prices have been delayed, and the new deadline is the first quarter of 2017. Bui Van Thinh, chair of the Binh Thuan provincial Windpower Association, director of Thuan Binh Wind Power JSC, said he was disappointed about the delay. Thinh said the association has asked the government to raise the wind power price to 9.5 cent per kwh on average to ensure profit for investors. Research by GIZ showed Vietnam’s wind power reserves is 10,000 MW. The government, referring to the forecast, set up the target of developing 1,000 MW of wind power by 2020. Later, when reconsidering the Vietnamese conditions, it lowered the target to 800 MW in the amended national strategy on renewable energy development. However, analysts have warned that even the lower target was not feasible. Vietnam only has three more years to implement the national strategy, but only four wind power projects in Vietnam have become operational with total capacity of 160 MW. The total wind power capacity registered by investors has reached 5,700 MW. However, most of the investors have not implemented the registered projects, because they expect a loss with the current price of 7.8 cent per kwh, the lowest wind power price level in the world.

WB: Vietnam among top countries developing clean energy 21st Feb 2017
A range of developing countries including Vietnam have emerged as leaders in a global race to switch to sustainable energy by 2030, by boosting their policies to help improve people's access to reliable, affordable and clean power. Some 40 percent of the 111 countries surveyed by the World Bank had strong policies to improve people's access to reliable and affordable energy, make industries and homes more energy efficient, and increase countries' use of renewable energy, the bank said. The countries that have emerged as leaders alongside developed countries include China, India, Vietnam, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and Turkey. However, the countries need to do more to promote the use of clean energy and solve global warming.

Vietnam's wind power target blown off course by low profitability VnExpress International 20th Feb 2017
High installation costs and relatively low power prices are making investors think twice about diving into Vietnam's wind energy market. The country has set a target of producing around 6,000 MW of wind power by 2030, equivalent to 2.1 percent of total electricity generation. Deputy Trade Minister Hoang Quoc Vuong said Vietnam currently has four wind farms with a combined capacity of just 160 MW, implying that there is much more room for wind power in the country’s energy mix, the Saigon Times reported. Power prices in Vietnam are relatively low and not an attractive proposition for investors in the wind energy market. Investors have been asking for government support and a guarantee that it will buy electricity at higher prices so that they can make recoup from costly wind energy projects. “At first, [the government] said it would set a new buying price in December last year, but it has failed to keep its promise again,” said Bui Van Thinh, chairman of the Binh Thuan Wind Power Association, adding that local wind power investors have proposed a price of 9.5 U.S. cent per kWh. “According to the latest information, the government plans to set a new buying price for wind power in the first quarter of this year,” Thinh said. Other projects have been delayed as investors claim that the current buying price of 7.8 U.S. cents/ kWh, compared to 20 cents in Thailand, 29 cents in the Philippines and 30 cents in Japan, would significantly cut into their profits. Installing wind turbines is challenging in Vietnam and the country relies heavily on imported equipment. The country had previously set a target of developing 1,000 MW of wind farms, later revised down to 800 MW, by 2020. The push to boost electricity production from wind turbines has been driven by its rapidly expanding demand for electricity.

Petrolimex expected to list in Q1 - News VietNamNet Vietnam Net 21st Feb 2017
Petrolimex expected to list in Q1 The Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) has completed the necessary paperwork for its shares to be listed on the stock exchange. The group is expected to list on HOSE in late March, with an exact date to be finalized upon approval from the State Securities Commission (SSC).

Four more wind power projects set to launch in Vietnam Tuoitre News 17th Feb 2017
Following the construction of a wind power plant in south-central Vietnam, four similar projects are set to break ground in the country’s central region and Central Highlands. Construction of the 24 megawatt capacity Phu Lac Wind Power Plant was completed  in November 2016 in the south-central province of Binh Thuan and seems to have paved a clear path for future clean energy projects. Thuan Binh Wind Power JSC, the project’s developer, posted an investment capital worth more than VND1trillion (US$44 million) plant and seems poised to make similar moves in the near future.

Vietnam's fuel subsidy fund shrinks by 40 percent in 2016 VnExpress International 13th Feb 2017
New data from the finance ministry showed that nine out of 27 trading firms had overdrawn last year to keep prices stable. The Ministry of Finance said the country's fuel price stabilization fund had shrunk by 40 percent over the course of last year, to around VND 2.4 trillion ($110 million) in late December. Compared to the end of September, that was up 9 percent. The fund, established and managed by the ministry since 2009, extracts VND300 from every liter of fuel sold. Fuel companies are allowed to tap the fund when the government wants to keep prices stable and minimize the impacts of global increases.

For Vietnam Coal Will Ensure A 'Cheap' Energy Future. Or Will It? Forbes 31st Jan 2017
In 2011, World Bank predicted Vietnam would be one of the five countries worst affected by climate change. It was an ominous prognosis for a country on the cusp of embracing capitalism. A late entrant to the free market club it hungered for prosperity and new wealth. Six years on, the country seems to have embarked, albeit reluctantly, on the road to the self-fulfilling prophecy. Effects of climate change have already started to unravel Vietnam’s agriculture and environment even as it grapples with reviving its coal sector to meet rising domestic energy needs. One of the emerging markets, Vietnam’s economy is seeing a rapid sustained rise. In the last two decades it has coursed a growth average of nearly 6% per year per person, jumping from being one of the poorest countries to the middle income bracket. Offering lower-cost production hubs with relatively younger workforce Vietnam has emerged as the new favourite substitute to India and China. It’s hardly a surprise then that demand for energy at home should grow by 10% annually.