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Philippine Resources - May 02, 2022

Pursue nuclear energy to avert crisis: solon

Photo credit:  The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Saturday stressed the need for the country to move towards nuclear energy generation amid "thinning power reserves" as baseload coal power plants continue to experience shutdowns. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said there is no fuel cleaner than nuclear, which is also a more stable energy source run by a predictable fuel supply. Salceda said President Rodrigo Duterte is on the right path with the issuance of Executive Order 164, which aims to introduce nuclear energy into the country's energy mix, as this will address the high electricity rate and secure energy for the future. "And I can think of the ways we can complement that with good policy,” Salceda told reporters in a Viber message, as he proposed the franchise approach to nuclear energy. "I don’t want government spending money on it, given our fiscal issues. But we can collate a fiscal incentive package under the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) Law for a nuclear power investor. That will probably exceed the USD 1 billion threshold under that law, anyway,” he added. He described coal as the "dinosaur" of energy generation, given that it is cheap, simple, easy, but also outdated. Salceda added that coal power plants are "not exactly in top shape", adding that they are not following the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) procedures of the Department of Energy. "Over the past 30 days, half of our baseload plants have experienced shutdowns. When demand peaks, you’re going to get more of that. So, I’m definitely seeing a real possibility of rotating brownouts by May or June,” Salceda said. Salceda presented a “five-point plan” to combat an energy crisis, which included routine maintenance checks of the country’s power plants. He warned that “maintenance issues” could be a way for some generation firms to jack up prices. “Honestly, it’s getting frustrating. Like speaking to a wall. We already anticipated that these things will happen. And now, I’m making a prediction again that will probably take place if we don’t take action. If DOE (Department of Energy) doesn’t take action. Rotating brownouts by summer if we neglect maintenance issues among our baseload plants,” Salceda said. Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries. “For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read. It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040. The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued. House Committee on Energy chair Juan Miguel Arroyo, for his part, said the panel has identified eight priority legislative measures and nine laws to be subject to the legislative oversight function of the committee to ensure adequate and affordable power and fuel in the country while continuing to find ways to further improve the local industry and economy. The priority legislative measures include the creation of the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute; establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industry; Electric Vehicle Industry Development; Energy Advocacy Council Office; Use of Microgrid Systems; Waste-to-Energy Technology; Downstream Natural Gas Industry Development; and Strengthening the Energy Regulatory Commission.   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - April 28, 2022

PH offers $153-B investment opportunities in energy sector

The Department of Energy (DOE) has urged Singaporean businesses, as well as other foreign investors, to look into the country’s investment prospects in the energy sector, which amounts to USD153 billion. During the 3rd Philippine-Singapore Business and Investment Summit Wednesday, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said these required energy investments would help the country achieve the clean energy scenario under the Philippine Energy Plan. About 80 percent of the total investment requirements are for power, which include USD115.3 billion for new power plants and USD6.97 billion for transmission projects. “The required investments for RE (renewable energy) alone amounts to USD94.3 billion,” Fuentebella said. He added that about 15 percent of the needed investments are in the upstream sector composed of oil and gas exploration and development at USD10.05 billion, coal exploration and production at USD13.12 billion, and pre-development activities for renewable energy at USD510 million. The downstream energy sector, on the other hand, will be needing USD2.94 billion investments in oil distribution depots and import terminals; USD1.78 billion for liquefied natural gas terminals; and USD2.38 billion for biofuels production. “Given the capital-extensive nature of the energy sector, we anticipate the active participation of the private sector as well as the public-private partnerships to help us finance in bringing these critical energy infrastructure projects into fruition,” Fuentebella said. He said the Duterte administration has spent more than five years setting up a sound and long-term plan to help in building a sustainable energy future for the Philippines. “Whatever we invest today would have far reaching returns and benefits for the Filipino nation in the years ahead,” he added. By Kris Crismundo   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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Philippine Resources - April 25, 2022

DOE urges Filipinos to continue energy conservation

Photo credit: DOE - DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi is urging Filipinos to continue observing energy efficiency and conservation as petroleum prices in the global market remain high. According to its Oil Industry Management Bureau (OIMB), the risk of increasing oil prices remains as peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are on a standstill, which weakened hope for resolution to the conflict. It also exacerbates concerns of a possible European Union (EU) embargo on Russian oil. “Ongoing discussions on a potential Russian oil ban. While the EU has not imposed a ban on Russian oil imports, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had recently mentioned that an EU-level embargo on Russian oil was possible,” it added. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) also expressed that it is impossible to replace the 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquid exports that would be lost should sanctions or voluntary actions be pursued. OIMB added that OPEC has low spare capacity of fuels as few countries could maintain capacity in reserve while increasing their production. Iran could also infuse over 1 million barrels per day in the world market. However, this would only be possible with successful nuclear talks. "The DOE is closely monitoring global oil supply and price movements, in coordination with our downstream oil industry players. We are working to exhaust all measures that would help uphold consumer welfare during this challenging period," Cusi said. He added the Philippines is not spared from the impacts of the ongoing Russia and Ukraine war. “This is why we would like to earnestly appeal to everyone to integrate energy efficiency and conservation into our daily lives to help manage costs," he added. By Kris Crismundo   Article courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange

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Philippine Resources - March 24, 2022

Pagudpud wind farm now biggest in PH, to boost renewable energy

The installation of 32 wind turbines that can each generate 5 megawatts (MW) of electricity is expected to be completed within the last quarter of 2022 in the coastal barangays of Caunayan and Balaoi in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Following a site inspection of the ongoing wind project, Gabino Ramon Mejia, president of AC Energy Philippines, said in a media interview on Wednesday that the new 160-MW wind farm in Pagudpud town will produce almost double the capacity of its existing 27 units of wind turbines in Sitio Ayoyo, Barangay Caparispisan, also Pagudpud. He hopes that by early January, the Ayala-led firm will inaugurate its third wind energy project in the northern Philippines, following the 52-MW NorthWind farm in Bangui and the 81-MW North Luzon Renewables wind farm in Pagudpud. According to Mejia, the latest wind project of the Ayala-led company will become the largest wind farm in the country once completed. He added that since "Pagudpud town offers a huge potential in wind energy development,” they decided to expand the Balaoi-Caunayan wind farm project with a total investment capital of PHP11.4 billion. Aside from the existing Pagudpud wind farm that covers a forestland area of 625.04 hectares, Mejia reported that they are also exploring the mountains of Lammin in Piddig, Ilocos Norte for future wind energy development projects. "As of the moment, there’s a plan to install 1-2 meteorological mast to check if the wind resource in the area is viable,” he said. AC Energy said it hopes to become the largest listed platform in the region as it targets to reach a net attributable capacity of 5,000 MW by 2025. In Ilocos Norte, the wind farm's generation output is delivered via a dedicated 60-kilometer long, 115kV high voltage transmission line from the site to the sub-station of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in Laoag City. By Leilanie Adriano

Industry

Jed M. Bellen - March 11, 2022

Building Agile Business Processes

If businesses have anything to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic, it should be making their operations agile. Business agility means the ability to adjust swiftly to market changes both internally and externally, address customer demands quickly and flexibly, and adapt and lead continuously the improvement initiatives in a productive and cost-efficient manner, while maintaining the required level of quality (Agile Business Consortium 2021). It is also based on the principles of teamwork, autonomy, and alignment. Having an agile business is becoming a strategic imperative because companies these days face more demanding customers, tougher competition (Hammer 2002) and a disrupted, volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, and diverse world. As Bansal and MacMillan (2021) posited, only a handful of events made it obvious that every business is embedded within a larger open system which necessitates for building agile, adaptive, and resilient organizations.

Industry

Philippine Resources - March 07, 2022

Duterte approves inclusion of nuclear power in PH energy mix

Photo credit: Manila Times - Bataan Nuclear Power Plant President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Executive Order (EO) 164 that now includes the potential of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. Released on Thursday, EO 164 was signed by the Chief Executive last February 28. “This policy is the start of the national nuclear power program,” said Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. in a press conference. Under the new policy, it stated that the country “shall ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability”. Duterte issued the policy following the recommendation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC), which conducted a pre-feasibility study and public consultation on the matter. Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries. “For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read. It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040. The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued. The BNPP was the only nuclear power plant in the region during the 1980s, as the Philippines was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to embark on a nuclear energy program.  However, the project was mothballed because of corruption allegations and safety concerns on the use of nuclear energy. A study conducted by Russia State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in 2017 said the rehabilitation of BNPP will require around USD3 billion to USD4 billion. The public is also becoming more open to the potential of nuclear energy. “(A) Public Perception Survey on Nuclear Energy in 2019 indicated that almost 79 percent of Filipinos expressed approval or acceptability of the possible use or rehabilitation of an existing nuclear power plant,” the EO said. The same survey showed that 65 percent approved the construction of new nuclear power plants and 78 percent are open to learning more about nuclear energy.    Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency 

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Philippine Resources - March 07, 2022

DOE welcomes EO on nuclear power

Photo credit: Shuttershock The Department of Energy (DOE) has welcomed the signing of Executive Order 164, or the inclusion of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, as this will address the high electricity rate and secure energy for the future. “We thank the President for seeing merit in the DOE’s recommendation to consider integrating nuclear energy into our country’s energy mix. Since we want a stable, reliable, and sustainable energy resource, I believe that nuclear is the way to go,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement. In a press conference Thursday, DOE Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said nuclear power is cheaper and cleaner than other sources of energy and will help the country in achieving energy security. Erguiza, chairperson of the DOE Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO), added that the EO provides four cornerstone approaches in developing the Nuclear Energy Program (NEP). These include establishing a national policy on nuclear energy that could withstand changes in administration; legislative framework by institutionalizing the NEP; alignment with international standards in which the NEP will be formulated under the guidance of the International Atomic Agency; and public awareness and acceptability by conducting strong public consultation and information campaigns promoting scientific findings on the benefits of nuclear energy use. “Adopting a nuclear program is not just about constructing nuclear power plants. It is a matter of energy and national security. Should it be decided in the future that the Philippines is fit and finally ready to embark on its nuclear energy journey then, we would be able to look back and appreciate this landmark issuance,” Erguiza said. Drawing away from Bataan plant Although the EO still includes the potential of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the NEP, the DOE official said the EO is drawing away from the old but unused power plant. “We recognized the fact that BNPP was very much polarized,” Erguiza said, adding that the policy has focused on whether or not to include nuclear power in the energy mix and not on the rehabilitation of BNPP which received widespread safety concerns in the past. The BNPP is designed for two nuclear reactors with a capacity of 650 megawatts each, he said. Erguiza said the country is in talks with Russia, South Korea, and the United States on the use of small modular reactor (SMR) technology. Cusi and other DOE officials are set to travel to the US to seal a deal on SMR study. New technology Erguiza said the policy will also help the government to pursue new power installations across the country. There were around 15 locations identified even in the 1980s that are viable for nuclear power– Bataan, Cagayan, Quezon, Puerto Princesa, Negros Occidental, General Santos, Zamboanga del Norte, and Sulu. Erguiza said the industry has learned from the past accidents globally involving nuclear power plants, such as the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the US in 1979, the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and the Fukushima disaster in 2011. He said the new technologies on nuclear power “has almost been perfected” over the years.

Industry

Philippine Resources - March 07, 2022

Pursuit of nuclear energy to reduce PH oil dependency

Photo: Bataan Nuclear Power Plant The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday said President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's policy of pursuing safe and reliable nuclear energy would promote the country's national and economic security and also make it more energy-independent. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda made the statement as he expressed strong support for Duterte’s policy commitment towards nuclear energy as embodied in Executive Order No. 164, which was made public on Thursday. “Let me make it very clear: I support the pursuit of safe and reliable nuclear energy. It is the most dependable energy source. The country’s national and economic security would be stronger with nuclear energy. We would be more energy-independent with nuclear energy. We must approach nuclear energy with eyes and minds wide open, not with irrational, sentimental fear,” he said. He said energy sovereignty and the country's shift towards less pollutive energy sources require nuclear energy, since solar, wind, and other less stable energy sources require large tracts of land "that we do not have.” “Nuclear is also the most dependable source of energy, and it’s not even close. Nuclear has the highest capacity factor, or the amount of times a power plant is producing at maximum capacity. The lowest is solar, which of course is dependent on sunny days,” he said. He said the problem with being overly dependent on fossil fuels, which accounts for as much as 75 percent of electricity in the country, is that when problems arise in oil-producing states like Russia or those in the Middle East, Filipino consumers suffer consequences "no matter how remote we are from the causes of such problems.” “It’s a matter of national security as well. If, by any chance, our sea routes through the South China Sea were somehow hampered, we would suffer terribly from oil shortages," he said. He expressed hope that the policy commitment from Duterte will eventually pave the way for serious policy and financial investment in nuclear research. Salceda added that Duterte’s instructions to review the viability of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant “is also good fiscal housekeeping.” Duterte’s EO directs an inter-agency panel to look into reopening the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). “We spend around PHP40 million every year to maintain Bataan Nuclear. That means we’re spending that much on a white elephant. I think part of the mandate of the EO, which is to review the BNPP, has to include whether we should already totally decommission the asset as scrap metal, if it’s really dangerous and unsafe,” Salceda said. Salceda said Congress may consider a “franchise approach” to operating the BNPP. “I think we should bid it out as a Public-Private Partnership and grant its operator a franchise. The thing with nuclear power plants is the gestation period for the investment requires several decades. So our private partner will need the political and legal security of a franchise from Congress. That is definitely on the table, and I will tell President Duterte to consider that approach as well,” he said. The EO states the country “shall ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability.” Duterte issued the policy following the recommendation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC), which conducted a pre-feasibility study and public consultation on the matter. Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries. “For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read. It added that the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040. The BNPP was the only nuclear power plant in the region during the 1980s, as the Philippines was one of the first Southeast Asian countries to embark on a nuclear energy program. The project, however, was mothballed because of corruption allegations and safety concerns on the use of nuclear energy. A study conducted by Russia State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) in 2017 said the rehabilitation of BNPP will require around USD3 billion to USD4 billion. By Filane Mikee Cervantes     Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - March 02, 2022

Germany assesses potential of hydrogen as PH energy source

The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) said it is exploring the potential of the Philippine market for green hydrogen as a future source of energy. “The German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), is currently assessing the market potential of green hydrogen and fuel cell applications in urban and remote areas in the Philippines,” GPCCI said in a statement Monday. GPCCI executive director Christopher Zimmer said the technology know-how of Germany on green hydrogen can help the country in increasing the share of renewable energy in its energy mix, as well as reducing the greenhouse gas emission. “We are convinced that German technology providers can contribute greatly to the country’s energy transition,” Zimmer said. He added the amendments to the Foreign Investments Act and Public Service Act will facilitate opportunities between German and Philippine businesses to partner in exploring and investing in this sector. German hydrogen technology firm H2 Core Systems GmBH vice president of energy systems Mark Shiels said the Philippines should take advantage of investing in hydrogen technology as this plays a major role in climate protection. “In the Philippines, a geographically dispersed country, the use of green hydrogen and fuel cell technology can be an environmentally friendly alternative to diesel generators, whose use is widespread as backup power in urban areas and as power source in remote off-grid areas,” Shiels said. Green hydrogen is part of Germany’s goal of zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050 by investing in research and technology development, as well as hydrogen trade cooperation and partnership with other countries. Meanwhile, the Department of Energy has been pursuing hydrogen as an alternative source of energy that will significantly help in reducing the country’s carbon emission. It recently partnered with firms from Australia and Japan to explore the potential of hydrogen as the country’s future energy source.

Industry

Philippine Resources - February 21, 2022

PEZA woos UAE oil firms to set up refineries in PH ecozones

Photo: Oil Refinery Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) director general Charito Plaza has invited oil companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to build and operate oil refineries in the country. During the Global Biz with PEZA featuring the United Arab Emirates held in Dubai Tuesday, Plaza said oil companies based in the UAE can look into opportunities in making the Philippines its hub in the Southeast Asian region. “We seek your help to talk with big oil companies here in UAE as we attract them to locate in our island refinery ecozones, so to bring their oil deposits, stock it in the Philippines and have it refined there,” she said. Plaza added UAE firms can take advantage of the ease of doing business as PEZA offers a one-stop shop for processing investments within ecozones and enjoying fiscal incentives and lower corporate income tax rate with the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law. Island refinery ecozone is a new type of ecozone that PEZA is pursuing to help the country secure petroleum needs and lessen its vulnerability from oil supply and price disruptions in the world market. UAE is one of the biggest oil and gas producers in the world with a daily average production of 3 million barrels of petroleum and oil reserves of 100 billion barrels.  One-third of its economy depends on its oil and gas industry. Aside from setting up oil refinery ecozones, Plaza said UAE companies may also explore opportunities in establishing halal ecozones, as well as Islamic banking in the Philippines. She said there are only six locators from the UAE in PEZA zones with total investments amounting to PHP383 million and employing 1,049 personnel. By Kris Crismundo   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - February 17, 2022

DOE reviewing terms of reference to study nat’l oil reserve

Photo credit: Philippine National Oil Company The Department of Energy (DOE) is reviewing the terms of reference (TOR) for the public bidding of consultancy services to do the feasibility study as the government aims its own oil reserve operation. During the Laging Handa briefing Wednesday, DOE Assistant Director Rodela Romero said after the failed bidding in getting an adviser to do a study on the establishment of Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the agency still targets to finish the study before the end of the Duterte administration. In September last year, the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) said it aims the establishment of SPR that will involve crude oil and petroleum importation, storage, and distribution facilities within and outside the country. Romero said the SPR program is a long-term plan and an oil contingency plan that aims to lessen the country’s vulnerability from the impact of supply and price disruptions in the world market. “So (it is an) assurance that we will be able to build the said strategic petroleum reserve through proper analysis, wherein the government will not incur any losses,” she said in Filipino. A few months after the onset of the pandemic, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi expressed his intention to build a stockpile of oil to take advantage of low prices of fuel products then, which plummeted below USD20 a barrel. The government aims to buy oil when prices are low, stock it, and use it for domestic consumption when prices are rising. This could be a solution to the present oil price woes, in which prices have been increasing for seven straight weeks now. In a statement last week, senatorial bet and former defense secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro called on the DOE and the PNOC to fast-track the national oil stockpiling program and be more proactive on energy issues. Moreover, Romero said the DOE has proposed to Congress to give authority to the agency to put up the SPR, “whether commercial or strategic”, to address impacts of oil supply and price disruptions. By Kris Crismundo   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - February 08, 2022

Let biz sector handle Malampaya deal, PRRD tells senators

Photo credit: Shell President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday slammed the Senate resolution recommending charges against Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi and other officials over the approval of what lawmakers alleged was an anomalous sale of shares in the Malampaya gas field. In a statement, Duterte expressed "grave concern" over the Senate's adoption of the resolution, as it casts "undue, undeserved, and unwarranted aspersion" on key DOE officials. "The government values the critical role and contribution of the Malampaya Gas Field to energy security. I will not allow this valuable resource to be jeopardized and embroiled in the political antics of some members of the Senate," he said. Duterte affirmed that Cusi still has his full trust and confidence, and shall remain as the head of the energy department. He maintained that the national interest has been protected and the government's rights remain intact amid the developments involving the share sale and purchase agreement. "I am calling on our legislators to ensure that our ability to compete is not jeopardized by political intrigues and innuendoes. Leave business transactions in the capable hands of the business sector. Let us respect their business decisions while we protect our national interests," Duterte said. The resolution, penned by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, recommends the filing of criminal and administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Civil Service Commission against Cusi and other DOE officials for approving and recommending approval of the Chevron Philippines-UC Malampaya transaction. Gatchalian said the officials violated laws for allegedly railroading the approval to the sale of the 45-percent participating interest in the Malampaya gas project of Chevron Malampaya LLC Philippines, now known as UC 38 LLC, to UC Malampaya, an indirect subsidiary of Udenna Corporation, despite the lack of financial qualification. Duterte, however, said that the sale and purchase of the stock of Chevron Malampaya LLC was a private transaction between private entities that must be respected. He also reiterated that both foreign and local investments are "vital" to the economy. "We compete for them with other countries, and our ability to do so requires me to create and maintain an environment conducive to the entry of investors," he said. Duterte said that while he recognizes the Senate's power to conduct congressional probes in aid of legislation, this should be exercised "with prudence and circumspection, devoid of reckless accusations, and focused on improving existing laws". By Filane Mikee Cervantes   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - January 24, 2022

PH, Russia reaffirm efforts on potential use of small reactors

Photo credit: DOE The Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) on Thursday reaffirmed their collaborative efforts to explore the potential utilization of small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the Philippines during the Small Modular Reactors' Day. This event formed part of ROSATOM's Breakthrough Technologies for Sustainable Future Week, which was held at the sidelines of the World EXPO 2020. Under the definition of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), SMRs "are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors". Because of their size, and the capability of pre-assembling most SMRs in factories, they are considered ideal for industrial utilization, as well as for use in remote areas with limited grid access. In a pre-recorded video message, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi stated that SMRs are a "game-changer in the global energy landscape", especially since they could be utilized in locations that are not suitable for large nuclear power plants (NPPs). "It is an attractive, viable, and doable option for the Philippines given that SMRs provide non-intermittent power supply for calamity-prone countries, their low-carbon footprint, predictable supply costs, and are tailored-fit for our country's archipelagic setting," Secretary Cusi emphasized. He expressed strong interest in Russian nuclear energy technology and its potential application in the Philippines after an official visit to Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 2017, where he witnessed the assembly and processing of the 70-megawatt Akademik Lomonosov floating co-generation plant in the Kamchatka region. In 2019, the DOE and ROSATOM signed a memorandum of intent in Moscow, Russia, on the conduct of a pre-feasibility study on SMR technology's applicability in the Philippine setting. Cusi also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to ROSATOM for their continuing support and guidance, as the Philippines continues to explore the safe utilization of nuclear energy under IAEA direction. ROSATOM Overseas President Evgeny Pakermanov emphasized that "SMR technologies offer an effective solution in the supply of stable, reliable, and environmentally-friendly power in island-countries". He added that Rosatom’s SMRs are among the world’s safest, proven, and state-of-the-art technologies, and that "the Russian SMR technology is becoming increasingly popular day-by-day, and international guests at ROSATOM’s SMR NPP day are testifying to it".   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - January 12, 2022

PH economy seen growing 6-7% in 2022

The Philippine economy is expected to return to its 6 to 7-percent growth trajectory in 2022 after nearly two years of grappling with the pandemic despite the threat of the Omicron variant, according to the investment banking arm of the Metrobank Group. First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) said this year’s economic growth will be driven by sustained domestic demand, easing inflation, election expenditures, and accelerated government spending on infrastructure projects. “Notwithstanding the ongoing pandemic, and Omicron sparking the third wave of infections, we are still optimistic that Philippine growth will further accelerate and get back on its trajectory of 6-7 percent in 2022,” FMIC president Jose Patricio Dumlao said in a virtual briefing Tuesday. Dumlao said the economy registered a 4.9-percent growth in the first three quarters of 2021 and the growth momentum likely spilled over in the fourth quarter given further economic reopening and easing mobility restrictions. He added business and consumer confidence are also cautiously positive given wider availability of vaccines and relaxation of lockdowns, quarantine measures, and mobility restrictions. University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) economist Dr. Victor Abola said the 6 to 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) projection this year will be led by the industry sector --both construction and manufacturing. Abola said services will still be the lagging sector as the pandemic measures hit hotels and restaurants. “The Philippine situation is that there is recovery but still on the way to reach the pre-pandemic levels,” he said. The country’s GDP posted a -9.5 percent full-year growth rate in 2020 compared to its 5.9 percent pre-pandemic performance in 2019. Abola said the business process outsourcing (BPO) is a major contributor to the resiliency of the economy amid the pandemic. “And it’s not the same as usual call centers, etc. You can see there are new, emerging segments and that is what companies are focusing on,” he said, citing insurance, life sciences, healthcare, and data analytics, among others. Aside from BPO revenues, FMIC chairman Francisco Sebastian said the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) remittances are boosting the economy. “These two things are not as sexy as other things like technology and telecoms… This is what is holding us up. OFW remittances continue to grow,” he said. By Leslie Gatpolintan   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

Industry

Philippine Resources - January 07, 2022

Ensure stable power supply amid Indonesia coal export ban: solon

Photo credit: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg A lawmaker on Thursday called on the government to ensure that the country's power supply derived from the consumption of coal would not be adversely affected following Indonesia's decision to ban the export of coal to secure its local supply. In a statement, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to prepare for contingency measures on the country’s supply of coal for power plants which, if insufficient, could lead to widespread blackouts. “Part of the contingency measures should be to ensure the adherence of coal-fired power plants to the 30-day minimum inventory requirement,” Gatchalian said. While the country is slowly attempting to promote alternative and sustainable sources of energy, the Philippines still derived 57.17 percent of power generation from coal as of 2020. Aside from Indonesia's ban on coal exports, the global demand for coal has surged following higher consumption in countries that experience cold winter months. Among the countries severely affected by Indonesia's move are Japan, China, India, and South Korea, which imported 73 percent of Indonesian coal last year. “The government should also consider looking for other suppliers, especially in the coming weeks, given the possible decline in stockpiles coming from Indonesia, which could result in soaring coal prices,” Gatchalian added. In October 2021, the Philippines acquired 96.88 percent of its imported coal supply from Indonesia, the world's top exporter of thermal coal. “This could be a wake-up call as well. The government should probably start rethinking and be more committed to reducing the share of coal by further diversifying our generation mix,” Gatchalian said. By Benjamin Pulta   Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency 

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