President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a seven-year oil exploration contract with Israel hoping the deal would boost the country’s energy resources, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte signed the Petroleum Service Contrac on behalf of the Philippine government with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as the witness.
He said Cusi attended the ceremonial signing of the contract for Area 4 of the East Palawan Basin of the Fifth Philippine Energy Contracting Round.
He said President Raphael Tabibzada signed and represented the Israeli firm Ratio Petroleum.
He said Cusi said the event “bodes well” for the Philippine-Israel economic relations and the country’s upstream petroleum industry.
“If you remember, the President made statements that our country needs to attain energy security and sustainability at the soonest possible time. The problem with us is we don’t have oil resources, that’s why it’s hard for us if we are compared to other countries that have oil,” Panelo told reporters.
“We have been dependent on oil-producing countries for our oil, s we need to boost the exploration and development of our own energy resources.”
Panelo said Petroleum will be able to explore 416 hectares across the East Palawan Basin for potential oil and gas resources.
He said the minimum expenditure would be $34,350,000.
“This will, of course, be derived from studies, data gathering and drilling activities over the initial seven-year contract duration. Hopefully, we will see and acquire oil. It will definitely help our country,” Panelo said.
He said the contract with Ratio Petroleum was the first petroleum service contract signed by the Duterte administration.
Established in 1992, Ratio Petroleum has a number of large-scale operations at the Levant Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, as well as offshore operations in Malta and Guyana.