CNMI MAY COOPERATE WITH PHILIPPINES IN FUEL PURCHASES

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, July 24)—The Fitial administration is mulling the possibility of piggybacking on the Philippines' National Power Corporation to save on fuel costs.

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial on Friday announced a plan to enter into an arrangement where the Philippine power company would include the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation's needs in its fuel purchases.

"This kind of arrangement is advantageous to the CNMI. As you know, when Napocor buys fuel from Shell, they get premium discount. We can avail of that discount if we ride on Napocor's back and have them purchase for CUC as though Saipan were an island in the Philippines," Fitial explained.

The governor said he would more specific details on the plan when CUC consultant and former Napocor president Guido Delgado visits Saipan today, July 24, 2006.

There is still one year left in CUC's two-year contract with Mobil Oil Marianas.

In related news, the administration is also working with Napocor on the lease of 16 units of 1.2 megawatt power generators.

Acting CUC executive director Anthony Guerrero said that the utility had decided not to take Napocor's original offer of free engines for several reasons. He noted that it would cost too much to ship the units from their current location in southern Philippines and there was currently no facility to house the engines on Saipan.

"We realize that accepting those free generators will not go in line with the privatization plan," Guerrero added.

He said that Napocor had also offered to move a power barge, but security concerns kept CUC from accepting the offer.

July 24, 2006

Saipan Tribune http://www.saipantribune.com

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