Geothermal project taps Icelandic drilling firm

Posted on April 27, 2015

EMERGING POWER, Inc. (EPI) has tapped a company from Iceland to conduct drilling works for its planned 40-megawatt (MW) geothermal project in Oriental Mindoro.

The renewable energy company said in a statement over the weekend that Iceland Drilling Corp. (IDC) will undertake the drilling activity for the $185-million Montelago project.

“We are tapping IDC to ensure a technically superior work in our 40-MW geothermal project in Oriental Mindoro,” EPI Chairman Martin Antonio G. Zamora said in the statement.

Under a deal inked last April 20, IDC will drill at least two wells. IDC has conducted drilling operations in the Faeroe Islands,the UK, Portugal, Hungary, Bavaria, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

“With the signing of the contract, IDC will now be involved with EPI to ensure the readiness of the site for the arrival and assembly of the drilling equipment. Drilling of the first exploration well is expected to commence on July 15,” Mr. Zamora said.

EPI chose IDC following a comprehensive six-month selection process.

Expected to be operational by 2016, the Montelago project straddles barangays Montelago, Montemayor and Melgar-B in the municipality of Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.

It is expected to lower power rates to P6.58 per kilowatt-hour (/kWh) from the current P11/kWh -- equivalent to P2.1 billion savings over a period of two years.

EPI is also pursuing a 10-MW solar plant in Camarines Sur; a 2.5-MW biomass project in Quezon; and a 10-MW solar-bunker hybrid project in Palawan.

Nickel Asia Corp. last month converted its P446-million loan to EPI into equity, allowing the listed miner to hold an initial 55% shareholding in the renewable energy firm.

The company’s board also approved an additional investment of P474 million -- to be made in stages -- to further raise Nickel Asia’s stake in EPI to 66%. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano