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SN Aboitiz takes control of Philippines' 175-MW Ambuklao-Binga

The Philippines' privatization agency turned over the 75-MW Ambuklao and 100-MW Binga hydroelectric projects July 10 to winning privatization bidder SN Aboitiz Power Benguet Inc.

Philippine power producer Aboitiz Power and Norway's Statkraft Norfund Power Invest (SN Power) won a 2007 auction offering US$325 million for the Ambuklao and Binga hydropower plants in the northern Philippines' Benguet Province. (HNN 11/28/07)

On behalf of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Corp. (PSALM), Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes and Finance Secretary Margarito Teves turned over ceremonial keys to Aboitiz Equity Ventures Executive Vice President Erramon Aboitiz. PSALM said the transaction closed much earlier than the contractual deadline of 2009 due to concerted efforts of PSALM and SN Aboitiz Power Benguet.

Ambuklao and Binga are located 19 kilometers apart on the Agno River at Bokod and Itogon in Benguet Province of Luzon Island. Ambuklao, which has three 25-MW turbine-generators, was completed in December 1956 and has been under preservation by National Power Corp. (Napocor) since 2000. Binga, which has four 25-MW units, was commissioned in 1960.

SN Aboitiz Power Benguet is to rehabilitate and recommission Ambuklao, which has been shut down due to silt problems, upgrade Binga, and increase the combined capacity by 50 MW in total, 30 MW for Ambuklao and 20 MW for Binga. The World Bank's International Finance Corp. said in April it was considering an application to help finance the privatization and refurbishment. (HNN 4/29/08)

Ambuklao's rehabilitation, through July 2010, is to include construction of a new intake and a new tailrace at higher elevations, installation of new electrical and mechanical equipment, erosion repairs, and repairs to gates.

Binga's rehabilitation, through early 2013, is to include construction of a new intake similar to Ambuklao's, improvement of spillway capacity, embankment repairs, and installation of new electrical and mechanical equipment, including generating units.

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