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Nickel Asia gets green light for acquisition of majority stake in Biliran project

Geysir drilling rig of Iceland Drilling on Biliran Island, Philippines (source: Biliran Island Blog)
Alexander Richter 2 Nov 2015

Nickel Asia has received the green light from the Board of Investments of the Philippines for the acquisition of a majority stake in the 100 MW Biliran geothermal project in Leyte, Philippines.

The Philippines Board of Investments (BOI) under the Department of Trade and Industry has given the green light for the acquisition of a majority equity stake of Nickel Asia Corporation’s (NAC) in the planned 100-megawatt Biliran geothermal power project.

Following this approval, the ownership structure of Biliran Geothermal, Inc. (BGI), which is the project’s corporate vehicle, will change.

Effectively, NAC is the majority equity holder in Emerging Power, Inc. (EPI), which currently is the major investor in the Biliran geothermal venture with 60-percent stake.

Prior to the transaction firming up NAC’s entry into the project, it was another Filipino firm Filtech Energy Corporation which had been holding the majority interest of 60 percent in the Biliran project; while Iceland firm Orka Energy holds the balance of 40-percent.

For the project to advance, NAC has guaranteed “the loan facility of EPI for up to P3.0 billion ($65 million) over a three-year period to finance EPI’s renewable energy projects.”

In a statement to the media, EPI president Martin Antonio Zamora has noted that they consider the Biliran concession “as one of our major projects.”

He thus assured the BOI that “the project will materialize,” and that the plant will eventually augment power supply and economic benefits to its host community. From a targeted capacity of 100MW, EPI has further indicated that initial research also shows “another estimated 170MW could be developed in the northern part of the concession area.”

The company said it already completed drilling of at least eight wells in the southern portion of its awarded service area. The Biliran venture has been granted a 25-year geothermal renewable energy service contract covering 260 kilometres of concession area in Biliran province.