PNOC targets to finish P5-B Batangas port repurposing by 2027

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

STATE-RUN Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC)  said it is targeting to complete the repurposing of its Mabini, Batangas port into an offshore wind integration port by 2027, estimating a cost of P5 billion and considering a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

“We still have to determine whether solicited or unsolicited, but the timetable is really to have this up and running by 2027,” PNOC President Oliver B. Butalid told BusinessWorld in a virtual interview on Tuesday.

PNOC manages the Energy Supply Base (ESB), a private commercial port spanning 19.2 hectares, initially under PNOC Exploration Corp. and officially transferred to PNOC in 2018.

Mr. Butalid disclosed the estimated cost of the undertaking to be P5 billion, indicating the company’s pursuit of a partner through a PPP arrangement.

“We’re talking to some interested parties,” he said.

The ESB port is one of nine ports identified by the Department of Energy (DoE) in a pre-feasibility study for offshore wind power development, with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

The list includes Port of Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan; Port of Subic; and Port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental.

The Energy department is finalizing the selection of the 10th port for inclusion in the study, with an expected completion date of October 2024.

PNOC’s ESB port anticipates being the first ready for use, supporting 32 gigawatts (GW) of potential offshore wind power projects, as part of the government’s goal to operate offshore wind turbines by 2028.

“In that sense, we are like trailblazer because we already have an existing port,” Mr. Butalid said.

The DoE has awarded 82 offshore wind energy service contracts, contributing to the Philippines’ estimated potential capacity of 178 GW in offshore wind resources.

“It is an important development because all of these developers who got their service contracts… they’re waiting for several key elements to be put in place before they really bring in their big investment,” Mr. Butalid said.