ACE Enexor Inc., formerly Phinma Petroleum and Geothermal Inc. (PPG), wants to bring in a strategic partner to aid the company in its future exploration plans.
“We may be bringing in partners in the future. I think the idea is, over time, we will bring in at least one strategic partner. Most likely foreign with experience, big balance sheet and expertise in oil and gas exploration,” said Phinma Energy Corp. and AC Energy Inc. President Eric Francia.
PPG is a unit of Phinma Energy, which was acquired by AC Energy Inc. from the del Rosario family for P6.3 billion.
After the acquisition, Francia bared plans to develop the upstream business of Phinma Energy.
“Having studied the upstream oil and gas exploration potential in the Philippines, we think that sector is under-invested. If you look at the last decade or so, there were hardly any significant exploration activities,” commented Francia.
The plan, he said, is “to make sure that we are able to address the development potential of the asset.”
For now, Francia said ACE Enexor will continue to develop PPG’s existing petroleum service contracts. These are SC 55, a deepwater exploration block off southwest Palawan, and SC 6 Block A, a petroleum block in northwest Palawan.
“We will just focus on nurturing the two service contracts. Particularly, we are operators and Enexor is an operator in SC 55. We made a disclosure where we mentioned that we will be going into the appraisal period and we are committing one appraisal well to really assess the commerciality of the resource.
The other is SC 6, but we are only a minority in that area. We really want to maximize the potential of these exploration activities,”said Francia.
The SC 55 consortium has committed to drill one deepwater well within the first two years of the appraisal period and, following reinterpretation of certain seismic data outside of the current study area, may undertake a new 3D seismic program to mature other prospects within SC 55 to drillable status.
Last week, AC Energy entered into a share-purchase agreement for the acquisition of a 51-percent interest in the Baroota Pumped Hydro and the Bridle Track Solar Farm projects from Rise Renewables.
UPC\AC Renewables Australia, the partnership between AC Energy Inc. and UPC Renewables of Australia, intends to accelerate remaining development, fund construction and to retain long-term ownership of the two projects in Australia.
“We just signed a couple of days ago to develop pumped hydro for Australia. We’re also looking at whether it makes sense to add batteries. That’s pumped hydro, which would complement renewables very well. That one, hopefully, we can get to NTP [notice to proceed] in the next six months,” said AC Energy International Chief Operating Officer Patrice Clausse.
Baroota Pumped Hydro will consist of 2 x 125 megawatts units and the construction of upper storage, penstock, pipeline and power station with the utilization of the existing SA Water Baroota Reservoir as lower storage.
The Baroota Pumped Hydro project is located strategically in the Mid North of South Australia and within 1 kilometer of the 275 kV Bungama to Davenport transmission line.
The Bridle Track Solar farm project has approval for 300 MW located next to the Baroota Pumped Hydro project. Both projects will share a connection point to the 275 kilovolt (kV) Bungama to Davenport transmission line.
In 2018, AC Energy partnered with UPC Renewables, which is developing the 1000MW Robbins Island and Jim’s Plain wind power projects in North West Tasmania, and the 600MW New England solar farm near Uralla in New South Wales.
“Australia is an interesting market because the resource is fairly rich, capacity factor there is high and then spot prices there remain elevated since 2016 to 2017. The coal plants there are becoming less and less reliable as they reach technical life. I think this is really an era of renewables for Australia,” said Francia.