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Aboitiz Power likely to bid for Chevron's geothermal assets

MANILA -- Aboitiz Power is interested in bidding for Chevron's geothermal assets in the Philippines and in Indonesia, company officials told reporters on Monday.

In a global trend among energy companies, Chevron is looking to divest some assets to shore up finances amid weak oil prices. Aboitiz Power CEO Erramon Aboitiz said his company would look into the terms of the sale once they are released, likely by the end of this month.

Aboitiz Power could potentially be competing with bigger French and Japanese companies which were also keen on acquiring the assets, according to earlier reports.

Chief Operating Officer Antonio Moraza said Aboitiz Power would likely bid on its own for the Philippine assets, but it would seek a partner for the Indonesian projects.

Chevron has a 40% stake in Philippine Geothermal Production, which supplies steam energy to the 692 megawatt Tiwi-Makban geothermal power plants in southern Luzon, which are both owned by Aboitiz Power. In Indonesia, Chevron's geothermal projects generate around 650MW of electricity. The assets were valued at around $3 billion.

A successful bid will accelerate Aboitiz Power's expansion in geothermal energy. The company is exploring more sites in northern and southern Philippines as well as abroad. Last September, it teamed up with PT Medco Power to explore a greenfield geothermal power generation project in East Java province in Indonesia.

The expansion abroad comes amid limited opportunities in the geothermal space in the Philippines. Moraza said most high-grade geothermal power plants in the country had already been explored and the ones left were too small for them.

Aboitiz Power's net income rose 15% to 5 billion pesos ($107.6 million) in the first quarter on higher revenues. Its shares rose 0.21% on Monday in a broader Philippine market that went up 1.01%.

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