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PIA Press Release

PNOC-UK $1.3-B biodiesel joint venture, biggest industry investment by foreign firm

Tacloban City (September 7) -- The Philippine National Oil Company - Alternative Fuels Corporation General Manager Clovis T. Tupaz announced that the US$1.3 Billion deal with the UK-based Natural Resources Group Chemical Engineering Pte Ltd, is the biggest investment by a foreign firm in the country's biofuels industry.

Under the US$1.3 agreement, the UK-based company will build what could be the biggest biofuel refinery and plantation complex in the Philippines, the General Manager informed.

GM Tupaz also informed that the PNOC-AFC and NRG are in constant communication and that the NRG is flying-in this month to the country. The two companies will have a meeting next week about the memorandum of understanding that was signed last May, he added.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PNOC-AFC and NRG signed during the Biofuels Conference in EDSA Shangri-La in May this year, NRG and PNOC-AFC are expected to set up a local company of which 70% shall be owned by NRG and 30% by PNOC-AFC.

During the Biofuels Conference, Chris de Lavigne, corporate advisor of NRG told reporters that a joint venture between NRG and PNOC-AFC would spend about $450 million for a 3.5 million metric ton (MT) biodiesel plant, $200 million for a bioethanol factory with a capacity of 500,000 MT and $600 million for jatropha plantations.

Lavigne said that NRG chose to invest in the Philippines because of its arable lands, fair weather, and pro-active stance on biofuels policies. He added that the projects focus on jatropha because it is inedible unlike other sources of biofuel feedstocks that are also food crops.

PNOC-AFC has the primary purpose to explore, develop and accelerate the utilization and commercialization of existing and emerging alternative sources of energy and technologies and carry on the business of alternative fuels and other related activities. PNOC-AFC has been directed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to have the primary responsibility over the Biofuel Project and to be the one to coordinate with the concerned agencies.

Meanwhile, NRG focuses on cutting-edge innovative clean technologies. It intends to enter into the renewable energy and chemical sectors in the Philippines through biorefining and expects to emerge not only as a significant producer in the biodiesel sector but also in green chemicals and downstream end-products.

With the entry of PNOC-AFC in the market, the production of biodiesel in the Philippines is projected to increase by at least 200,000 MT in 2009. PNOC-AFC will initially focus on jatropha as its primary feedstock for biodiesel production. (PIA 8) [top]

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