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New partnership driving development of Biliran project in Leyte

Geysir drilling rig of Iceland Drilling on Biliran Island, Philippines (source: Biliran Island Blog)
Alexander Richter 27 Aug 2015

Emerging Power, Inc. signed an agreement with Orka Energy, which would eventually give EPI 60 percent ownership of Biliran Geothermal Inc., the project company for the Biliran geothermal project in the Philippines.

As reported locally earlier this week, renewable energy company Emerging Power, Inc. signed an agreement with Orka Energy, which would eventually give EPI 60 percent ownership of Biliran Geothermal Inc. subject to the approval of regulatory bodies,” the company said in a statement Thursday.

The Philippines has a foreign ownership limit of 40 percent, with the 60-percent majority mandated to be held by a local firm. Orka Energy had acquired the stakes of Reykjavik Energy Invest and Geysir Green Energy, which are Iceland-based companies, for the project in 2012.

BGI has a 25-year Geothermal RE contract covering 260 square kilometres in the province of Biliran. The firm has successfully completed drilling eight wells in the southern portion of the concession area, which is estimated to supply 100-megawatts (MW) of power to the grid. Initial research shows that another estimated 170-MW could be developed in the northern part of the concession area.

“We are quickly expanding our Renewable Energy portfolio. Orka’s expertise will help us in our mission to supply clean energy and provide plenty of job opportunities for the people of Biliran,” said EPI Chairman Antonio Martin Zamora.

Orka Energy is owned by the Chandler Corporation, a private investment group that invests globally across a range of industries, including energy, financial services, consumer, and healthcare. The core team of Orka Energy has developed 1500-MW of geothermal power into operation in the last 30 years.

“Orka Energy and EPI share the same vision: harnessing geothermal energy to meet Asia’s demand for cleaner, sustainable energy. We look forward to working with EPI on the Biliran Project to create long-term value for all stakeholders, and to responsibly and sustainably power homes, communities, and businesses across the Philippines,” said Orka CEO Eirikur Bragason.

EPI is majority owned by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), one of the country’s biggest mining firms. In a recent disclosure, NAC said it would guarantee the loan facility of EPI for up to P3 billion over a three-year period to finance EPI’s RE projects.

Aside from BGI, EPI is also putting up a 40-megawatt (MW) geothermal power company in Oriental Mindoro, a 100-MW solar and wind project in Subic, a 30-MW Hybrid (Solar, Bunker) project in Palawan, a 10-MW solar project in Camarines Sur and a 2.5-MW biogas project in Quezon Province.

Source: Philippines Today