Forget the fizz. San Miguel’s latest product isn’t a hoppy summer brew.
It’s dirty, overpriced electricity.
Construction of a new Batangas-based SMC LNG-fired power plant (foreground), with a recent SMC acquisition, the Ilijan Combined-Cycle Power Plant, in the background. (Photo by Basilio Sepe)
The Biggest Fossil Gas Developer in Southeast Asia
San Miguel Corporation Global Power Holdings Corp., the power arm of San Miguel Corporation, already has one gas-fired power plant operating: the 1.2-GW Kepco Ilijan Nat Gas Plant.
Another is under construction: the much-contested Excellent Energy Resources, Inc. 's 1.75 GW power plant scheduled to be commissioned at the end of this year in the Verde Island Passage, in the Philippines.
Worse, the company is proposing seven more gas-fired power plants, for a combined capacity of 14.1 GW under development.
This makes San Miguel the biggest proponent of gas in the region. These include the following controversial projects: the massive 6.49 GW Navotas LNG power plant in Metro Manila, and Reliance Energy Development Inc.’s 300 MW LNG power plant in the Philippines’ Renewable Energy Capital Negros Occidental, to name a few.
The Taste of
San Miguel’s Dirty Brew
0% ABV with heavy metals like chromium, copper, lead and others, and excess phosphates.
Head to Batangas Bay to taste San Miguel’s new brew: polluted water, from power plants and similar heavy industries, contaminated with heavy metals.
For instance, the water quality of the Verde Island Passage, where the water near San Miguel’s power plants and projects are sited, no longer meets the limits specific for propagation and growth of fish and other marine resources. According to a report, samples showed excessive concentrations of phosphate, chromium, total copper, lead, and zinc, exceeding DENR Water Quality Standards.
dirty, costly brew is available throughout
San Miguel’s LNG-powered plants litter the Philippine landscape from Manila to Leyte.
Hover over the map to uncover the location and details of San Miguel's polluting fossil gas-powered plants.
Researchers and reports from throughout the Philippines have documented this time and again: San Miguel's proposed gas fleet puts critical marine and coastal ecosystems at stake.
A water quality study by marine science experts shows that the presence of key pollutants and heavy metals such as chromium, copper, lead and mercury have reached alarming levels from exposure to industrial activities.
The study also found that gas expansion projects will further disturb the already dwindling coral cover in the area, while sea-water intake and discharge from gas plants and terminals may affect water temperature--a limiting factor for the survival of fish and corals.
San Miguel knew this. In its environmental impact study, SMC-EERI said the proposed gas plant in Brgy. Dela Paz may result in soil contamination due to spillage of fuel and chemicals, degradation of water quality, threats to abundance of corals, reef fish and other marine organisms, and deterioration of ambient air quality due to emissions.
What Others Think
about San Miguel
San Miguel has a greater duty and responsibility to the Philippines, the region and our climate due to being a major player in the Philippines’ gas capacity under development.
Now, through its energy arm, San Miguel Corporation (San Miguel Corporation) Global Power, it has one of the biggest shares of the country’s coal capacity with 3,220 MW at 27.6%. Despite all sustainability commitments, guided by its credo to “make the world better” and its core value of “malasakit (solicitude)”, San Miguel Corporation is poised to build 14.1-GW gas plants, nearly half of the gas capacity in the country’s pipeline.
Experts and local communities say this will cost the Philippines for decades to come.
“The poor will bear the brunt.”
Our livelihoods and water sources have already been affected by the existing LNG plants. We are at risk of being displaced and we don't have resources other than fishing. If they continue to build more plants, us poor communities will bear the brunt.
Fisherfolk, Batangas City
San Miguel: Fossil Fuel
As San Miguel suffers from continuing to push fossil fuel power plants, it is also investing in renewable energy.
San Miguel admits they need help recovering losses after a fossil fuel price hike. After suffering “colossal” losses due to “skyrocketing global coal prices and unilateral natural gas supply restrictions from Malampaya,” they requested a temporary rate hike.
San Miguel is building 31 battery energy storage systems with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW by 2023 - an investment in renewable energy that it says will make “renewable sources more viable.”
Can Everyone Afford San Miguel’s LNG Expansion Plans?
The Bottom Line:
San Miguel’s LNG projects
don’t make financial sense.
San Miguel promised a specific price for its LNG-fired power project knowing full well that LNG prices are extremely volatile. Going forward, if it cannot meet the price of its bid, the company—not Filipino citizens—should bear the cost of global fuel price increases.
San Miguel should choose an alternate power source with stabler prices: renewable energy, which is kinder to both the company’s bottom line and Filipino wallets.
Volatile and expensive…
San Miguel Corporation was slapped by the reality that the global energy crisis is hurting its business when it suffered PHP15 billion in losses (approximately USD$ 264 million) from its two power plants.
This is magnified by the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war on gas prices. According to the IEEFA, LNG sourcing is unstable and unpredictable, leading to difficulties securing imported LNG.
Dirty Brew Crew
Behind San Miguel Corporation’s gas expansion are international backers with net-zero and sustainability commitments who collaborated to make San Miguel’s Dirty Brew a reality.
Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) Limited, DBS Bank Ltd, Mizuho Securities Asia Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, and UBS AG Singapore Branch acted as joint lead managers of San Miguel Corporation Global Power’s senior perpetual capital securities worth USD 600 million listed in the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited.
DB Trustees (Hong Kong) Limited acted as a trustee, and Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch acted as paying agent.
In San Miguel Corporation Global Power’s additional senior perpetual capital securities worth 150 million US dollars listed in the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, and Mizuho Securities Asia Limited once again acted as joint lead managers, DB Trustees (Hong Kong) Limited as trustee, Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong branch acted as paying agent, and Latham & Watkins as listing agent.
San Miguel and its backers are going back on climate promises and destroying the Philippines with its greedy, exploitative, and destructive energy business. This results in high electricity prices, damaging our environment, and dragging us deep into the climate crisis.
Did you swallow the Dirty Brew Hype?
Natural gas and LNG are clean.
Truth: Natural gas may not be as carbon-intensive as coal, but it is its own kind of dirty.
While natural gas emits about 50% less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than coal, it is mainly composed of another greenhouse gas (GHG) - methane. Methane’s capacity to trap heat is 80 times more than CO2 over a 20-year period. Natural gas emits methane not only when it is burned, but all throughout its life cycle: from extraction, transport, liquefaction, and regasification.
The Dirty Brew News
See what reporters, experts and analysts are saying about San Miguel’s dirty brew.